H.O.W. A Starfish and a Sheep Met Their Savior
The One That Lived
It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood. No smog. No clouds. Good friends. Good food. Perfect for a neighborhood gathering. All of my friends and family are here. Seems like all my friends have nicknames. There is Angel, she is so pretty and graceful. And she seems to always be watching out for you in case something happens. Then there is Fire. He seems to always be glowing and full of jokes. He says his father thinks so much of him that he calls him sun!
Over there by the big rock is Puffer. Ole Puffer. Always going about bragging on himself and getting puffed up when someone questions him. And beside him is Charles Horse. We call him C. Horse for short. Gotta watch out for him too. He will take you for a ride if you give him a chance.
Here comes Charlie Tuna. He's a good guy. Always trying to be the best he can. Helping out others and hoping to make it big one day. Just past Charlie is Bar. Now, Bar is short for Barracuda. He watches over the neighborhood. Very peculiar, that guy. Doesn't want anyone invading his territory. But it's good that someone is watching out for us.
Oh my, here comes Sting Ray and his buddies. They are so cool looking. Just chillin and floating around the party. But don't get them riled up either. When they slap you, it feels like barbed wire hitting you. But usually they don't cause too much trouble.
I love this neighborhood and I'm so grateful to be here. Hasn't always been that way. At one time I thought I was hot stuff. The best of the best. The star of the show. And that's why my name is Star. I was so cool, just going around looking good and not doing much of anything to help out in the neighborhood. Then, one day there came a storm in my life. I don't even want to talk about it. All I can say is that after the storm was over I was washed out. No energy at all. And almost to the point of death.
Then this man and another person came along. They were talking about religion and philosophy and all kinds of other stuff that I didn't think mattered too much. The one person was asking the man why he helped others, that there were so many people needing help that it didn't matter. Then the man reached down and picked me up and as he threw me back into the ocean, he said, "It matters to this one."
The Beginning of My Spiritual Life
That was the beginning of my spiritual life. Being washed up on the shore of despair from the storm of arrogance and having to be helped by someone who is not even my kind. Talk about humility!
And now I'm a changed person. I enjoy my neighborhood and everyone in it now, no matter what color they are or what kind of shell they live in. We are all in this thing together. And if we are gonna survive, we have to have all the Charlie Tuna's, the Sting Rays, the Angels, Ole man Puffer and the Bars. Everyone needs everyone. Even someone who is not our kind.
But not everyone thinks that way. It reminds me of another story.
The Lamb That Gave His All
This story was told to me by an old sheep who said he had been told the same story by his father, grand father and great grand father and thought that their great grandfathers had passed it down to them as well. The story starts out one cool night when all the animals in the barn were being fed and some invaders came into their home.
The invaders were a different breed. Humans, they were. A grown man and woman and it wasn't long before the woman had a baby. Right there in the barn. Well, all the other animals didn't know what to think of this. They had seen their neighbors give birth to lambs, chicks, goats and even a camel once. But this little baby, and a boy at that, well, they didn't know what to think.
Then they said some other real important looking kind of humans showed up and gave the baby some gifts. They were hoping some of the gifts would be something for him to wear since it looked like his parents were so poor that they didn't have any clothes for the baby boy to wear. While all the animals were talking among themselves they heard somebody say that this boy was special and would grow up to be a king. Well they certainly didn't know about that. Didn't look like much of a king to any of them.
The old sheep said eventually the humans left and they took one of the cousins there with them. Back then that wasn't a good sign. It meant you were probably going to end up on the wrong end of a knife with your throat cut and bleeding everywhere! But the old sheep said that was not how it was. He said that Cousin followed them humans everywere they went and that the little boy played with Cousin all the time. Cousin said that even sometimes the little boy would call himself a lamb.
Eventually Cousin's time came and he died of old age and went to the Big Pasture in the sky. But not before having a few kids of his own that the little boy took care of too. By now the little boy wasn't so little and one day he came up missing. Couldn't find him anywhere. The human parents looked everywhere for him and finally found him in a building sitting there talking about religion and philosophy and stuff that didn't mean much to Cousin's kids. But it sure did to the other humans there. They thought the little boy who still called himself Lamb was something special. One of Cousin's kids said he overheard the little boy saying his father had told him to do everything he could to help people and that's what he was going to do.
Now the old Sheep couldn't remember if it was Cousin's grandkids or Cousin's great grandkids or who it was that told him that they were with Lamb when he was grown and was trapesying around all over the countryside talking with other humans and helping them and making the sick to feel better. Said he saw some strange stuff going on and that sometimes Lamb would just talk to someone and they would get up and walk when they hadn't walked in years and years. People called it miracles. My kinfolk knew Lamb enough to know that's just the way he was. Always wanting to help somebody out of a jam.
Then they said it got to where other humans were jealous of him. They thought he was up to something no good. They didn't know Lamb like my kinfolk knew him. All the Cousins down through the ages never said a bad word about Lamb. He was special to them. Almost like one of them. Gentle and humble. He understood them. More like their shepherd than just one of the crowd.
And they said that's what finally got him into trouble. Come to find out he was special. He was so special that the big dogs, I mean the humans in authority, didn't like him. But that didn't matter to Lamb. He kept on helping people who were down and out, who were not even his type, who didn't even talk and dress like him. And it finally killed him. But not before he changed a bunch of people's minds. Made them think about what he was saying. I suppose they still are thinking about what he was saying.
You know this is what makes me glad I'm an animal. You know God made us before he made them humans, don't you. That's why I think we are a little bit smarter than the humans. Maybe not Lamb though. He was a real smart fellow. Maybe one of these days them humans will understand. And maybe they will start helping others like Lamb helped them.
I wonder H.O.W.
PS. All of the animals in the world challenge you to do a random act of kindness today. Even if it is to another human being.