When I saw this image on Facebook, it freaked me out. I did a double take, I gasped a little and then I saved it. I had to write about it – but when? More importantly, how and where? I shared the image with some bloggy friends and got the same response “Oooooooh, creepy. What are you going to do with it?” I’m going to hold it. Till today.
I thought I would ask my husband last night what this meant to him. I showed him the image and said, “honey, what does this image say to you? What feelings does it evoke?” He gave a few responses, a couple of which I will share here.
That sheep looks warm.
Me: Seriously? Not what I was looking for. I push him a little more. “Honey, I can’t put that on the blog! What else?!”
Ok ok! (and this is verbatim peeps) That wolf looks like he should be in a Grand Master Flash video. Back in the day, no one believed anyone’s sheepskin jacket was real, so we called it a cheapskin.
Him: Honey, you have to remember who your husband is. You think I”m this other dude who has deep thoughts *whispers* that’s not me.
True, that’s not him. He’s hilarious, and frank often a bottom line kind of guy, and always, ALWAYS makes me laugh. So there’s his reflection. Which I love, and had to share with you.
Have I introduced you to Aaron yet? He’s my stepson and he’s another funny guy.
I thought I would text him last night and ask what he thought. Again, verbatim:
It looks like a wolf disguised as a sheep to sneak in the barn and eat the sheep when the owner falls to sleep at night, probably the CIA.
WHAT? Since when is a farmer the CIA and why are the sheep in the barn? I digress. Back to the topic at hand…what does the image evoke?
Like I said earlier, I was scared. Going deeper, let’s see why that is. My earliest memory is the Aesop’s fable:
A Wolf found great difficulty in getting at the sheep owing to the vigilance of the shepherd and his dogs. But one day it found the skin of a sheep that had been flayed and thrown aside, so it put it on over its own pelt and strolled down among the sheep. The Lamb that belonged to the sheep, whose skin the Wolf was wearing, began to follow the Wolf in the Sheep’s clothing; so, leading the Lamb a little apart, he soon made a meal of her, and for some time he succeeded in deceiving the sheep, and enjoying hearty meals.
Moral of Aesops Fable: Appearances are deceptive
SO that’s it. Deception. Upon further contemplation (read diving head first into my bible), this is what I found:
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
But all is not lost, dear believers. Last night on my way home from work, I listened to the Evening Prayer on my Divine Office app. As I mulled over Matthew 7:15, I hear this booming from my speakers:
1 Peter 1:6-9
There is cause for rejoicing here. You may for a time have to suffer the distress of many trials; but this is so that your faith, which is more precious than the passing splendor of fire-tried gold, may by its genuineness lead to praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ appears. Although you have never seen him, you love him, and without seeing you now believe in him, and rejoice with inexpressible joy touched with glory because you are achieving faith’s goal, your salvation.
How do we recognize the wolf in sheep’s clothing in our own lives? How do we protect faith’s goal of salvation? It goes back to the fable, doesn’t it? In the very first sentence. VIGILANCE. If we stay vigilant, it shouldn’t happen. Deceit shouldn’t be allowed to run amok, but it can and does happen. It’s even harder when relationships are formed and maintained solely online. There is no body language to read (which I LOVE to do, by the way), no inferences to make regarding what they choose at the cafeteria salad bar (what, you don’t do that? Don’t pick the gross looking pickled cheese.) My husband feels I have a difficult time with this “sifting out” of what’s good and who’s good for me. It’s hard for me to be guarded, in fact, it exhausts me. I live in the land of naiveté, much as I try to pretend otherwise. If only there were a sorting hat. Alas, I have to get a thicker skin in this area and my husband suggested looking to what the Pope has to say on this matter. My husband said what? Yeah. I didn’t listen to him and research, like a good wife; but it came up again.
I visited with my next-door-Deacon-neighbor-sons’-Godfather just this past Tuesday and we were talking about an incident that I am working out. Let’s just say, I don’t take kindly to anyone hurting the feelings of my little Lexicon. I reached out to some peeps for help and guidance and didn’t get the answer I was looking for. Expectations. I set them very high. I don’t have any other setting unfortunately, and this goes back to the land of naiveté that I languish in. My sweet deacon said this “he should have the smell of his sheep on him, didn’t Pope Francis say that?”
He did…say something to that effect:
This I ask you: be shepherds, with the “odour of the sheep”, make it real, as shepherds among your flock, fishers of men.
The Holy Father is speaking of priests, of course (full text of the Chrism Mass to be found here). However, let us try to apply it to this lame wolf, (or wolves, do you see it? Thank you Delta Flute, for pointing that hideous thing out to me. Nightmares abound) us and faith. This wolf is trying to take on the smell of the sheep around him and looks so pleased with himself, doesn’t he? Instead of putting our trust in the sheep around us to know what’s what, or that CIA farmer (not shown), how about we trust the big guy upstairs, you know, Jesus (also not seen). Maybe then, just then, we won’t be fooled, or hurt, or confused, or misled or languishing in the land of naiveté.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
1 Corinthians 13:6-7
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
to name but a few. Regardless of where the wind blows, or what gets brought back, just trust in Him. He knows how it all ends anyway – and isn’t there a comfort in that? All he asks is that you STAY AWAKE.
Now it’s your turn…what does this image speak to you? Or how about you tell me what else we can add to this list of naiveté, missed expectations, deception, scary wolves and CIA farmers?
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