By The Reverend Mrs. Silence DoGood
During the snowstorm I looked out of the parsonage window to appreciate the newly-fallen-deep snow. Transformation. From beauty to beauty. The hill down to the pond, the pond, my neighbor’s farm, the valley, they were all silent and peaceful.
I watched as a deer walked from the northern field toward the pond. Its brown fur was in sharp contrast to the brilliant white snow. It looked like a doe but I wasn’t sure. It was unusual for a doe to be alone. They usually travel in a herd. Bucks are usually alone. I picked up my binoculars to see if it had antlers, even tiny ones. It didn’t.
She stopped several times along the shore of the frozen pond to drink. I doubted if she were successful because of the freeze. Fortunately she then found the spring emanating from the hill which feeds the pond. It was still flowing. She drank.
As I continued to watch her, nature became alive. Three doe from different directions appeared and began walking toward her. One came from the northern field. One came from the northwest side of the parsonage and one came from the west. They all appeared in the same time period.
They walked toward the drinking doe but did not drink when they were near. One stood by the tall and now dead brush slightly up the hill. The other two stood nearby and clawed the fluffy snow looking for some tasty grass below. After some leisurely time, all four deer walked onto the southern field. Then out of sight.
Why did this happen? How did the three deer know the drinking deer was there? Why were all three deer alone? Why did all three want to be with another deer? Why did they all appear at the same time?
I am a philosophical person. I often ask myself why. I have to think about why when I preach on Sunday. I have to think of how to counsel and console my parishioners. I regularly think about the meaning of my life and the lives of my husband and my children. But rarely does an outside event make me ponder. The arrival of the three doe at almost the same time did make me ask … why?
I did some research and learned that deer can make sounds. Does make a short low grunt to call in their fawns. They use the same call with older deer. In fact scientists believe it is also used to call other deer to get together. Did the drinking doe make that call? If she did I didn’t hear her because my window was closed and she was far away.
But if the drinking deer didn’t call, what motivated the three deer to join her? Were each of the three does looking in the direction of the drinking deer and wanted company? I further wondered if there is an underlying principle in the animal world urging community. To join a herd, a flock, a school.
But why stop at the animal kingdom. If such a force exists for the animal kingdom maybe it also exists for us humans. Suppose underneath all life there is a pulsating gravity which moves living beings together. A subtle but powerful stream in which we all swim whose current moves us closer to each other. Marriage. Family. Team. Yes, even my congregation.
When it is time for Sunday morning service I see people coming from all directions to congregate at my Church. Are we all in that mystical stream wherein we swim closer and closer together in order to form a larger body?
It is clear that the four deer wanted to be together. And it is clear that my congregation wants to be together. Perhaps the deer didn’t know why. And perhaps my congregation doesn’t easily know why. But at our deepest level, maybe even where words don’t exist, I believe that we sense there is betterment in being together. Perhaps that is the meaning of Church.
The Reverend Mrs. Silence DoGood
Choir Master (part-time)
The First Church of God’s Love