A poetic reflection on Luke 19:28-40
Mom, I’ve had the most extraordinary day today.
Really, my day started out like every other.
I got up and ate my breakfast,
they turned me out to pasture
to let me kick up my heels,
and then they tied me in front of the house
You know how it works.
The people are teaching me all the things I need to know
to work with the humans
and we’ve been having lessons every day about that.
They tell me someday,
it will be my turn
to let people ride me into town,
but we have to do the lessons first
so I’ll know what to do and how to behave.
One day, two guys showed up.
I was kind of surprised the people
let me go with them,
and I didn’t like it at first.
“What’s up, here?” I thought.
“Is this what “being sold” is all about?
I like my life here
and I don’t like these two humans I never met…
They smell like they’ve been on the road a long time.”
So at first I kicked up a bit of a fuss, but one of them stopped
and petted me…
He said, “Don’t worry…We’ll bring you back home soon.
We’re just borrowing you for a little bit.”
I relaxed a little…
And the petting WAS nice…
Right behind my ears, the way I like it.
So I thought, “Okay. If they’re going to bring me back,
then I might as well let them know
that I DO know how to be led.
I learned that lesson a long time ago.”
And then, they took me to the kindest man I’d ever seen.
It was like you could see all of the stars in the sky
in his eyes.
I could look in his eyes for a long time.
He smelled like he’d been on the road
for a long time also…
But he also had a faint smell that was different.
It’s hard to explain…
But it was like the smell of the sun
burning the crisp night air away
in a barn where there’s a brand new foal.
I liked that man right away…
And really, I started liking the other two guys
a little better
when I realized they were friends
of the man with the interesting smell.
I didn’t even mind
when they put their cloaks on my back.
You see, I’ve had that lesson before, too.
Why just last week,
we practiced that one.
They even shook the cloaks around me
to teach me not to be scared of flapping things.
Everyone says that the next lesson
will be for someone to get on my back.
My buddies in the pasture told me about that.
“Oh, you won’t like it at first.
You’ll kick and snort and buck
because it feels so weird.”
Then I felt the kind man
grab my reins
and I could feel him putting his other hand
on my back
like the people do
when they are going to jump on and ride.
“Wait! I haven’t had that lesson yet!
Didn’t my people tell you that?
I’m supposed to not like this
and you’re such a nice man
I don’t want you to get hurt
when I throw a fit.”
But then a strange thought creeped into my head.
Maybe I didn’t have to respond like that.
So when he climbed on my back,
on top of the cloaks,
I just stood there.
It did feel sort of weird
and I thought he was going to feel heavier,
but I’m pretty strong for my age,
so instead I thought,
“Maybe I’ll just work with this.
Everyone says I should be upset
the first time a human gets on my back,
but this fellow is so gentle and kind,
I suppose I could just give this a try.
If I’m good, I’ll get to go to town, I figure.”
So I let him ride me to town.
Then the most amazing thing happened.
There were all these people…cheering!
And they spread their cloaks on the road
for me to walk upon.
I’d never seen anyone do that before!
They loved the kind man too!
Mom, it was so exciting!
Some of them were holding palm leaves
and they waved them!
We walked through hundreds of folks
all cooling us off fanning those leaves.
So I actually perked up a little
and put a little spring in my step.
I know really, they were cheering him…
But I was bringing him to town,
so I felt like they were cheering me a little, too.
Just like the two guys promised,
they brought me back
And what’s kind of interesting
is even though they saw themselves
That one of them could have ridden me home,
they still led me.
I think it’s because they didn’t want
to get on my back
after the kind man had ridden me.
His mom said nothing for a while.
Then she took a deep breath,
“You say he had an interesting smell.
A long, long time ago,
I was taking one of our people on a journey.
He had to go back to the town where he was born
for some thing where all the people were counted.
I was staying in a shed at a place along the way.
Late that night,
these people showed up.
I guess there were no more rooms.
I felt sorry for the lady,
because she was in foal…
I mean, like REALLY in foal…
And sure enough,
she birthed her little people foal
right there in the shed!
There were no beds
and his people didn’t want
him to sleep on the ground
so they put him in my feed trough.
I waited until everyone was asleep
and I thought while they were sleeping
I’d quietly nibble some of the hay
near the little people foal.
So…you know…my nose was right down there
He smelled like people
but he also didn’t smell like people.
It’s hard to explain.
But he smelled like sunshine
with a little bit of stardust in it.”
Mom bent down and grabbed a few mouthfuls of grass
before speaking again.
“You know, son…
Could it be the same guy?
I’m old now,
but I remember that smell
like it was yesterday.
And I wonder
That maybe…just maybe…
The reason he’s so kind
is because he’s really not from here.
I like to think that perhaps he comes from
the same place the stardust comes from.
And I like to believe
that one of the reasons he’s so kind
is because one of the first sounds he ever heard
Was the sound of me…
Quietly munching on a bit of hay,
being so very careful
not to awaken or disturb him.
He was bathed in kindness
right from the start.
Not only have you had the most extraordinary day,
but I have too.”
“But Mom, why do you look sad?”
“Son, I’m sad
because I’m not sure
people will know who he is.
They can’t smell as well as we do.”
Maria Evans splits her week between being a pathologist and laboratory director in Kirksville, MO, and gratefully serving in the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri , as Interim Priest at Trinity Episcopal Church in Hannibal, MO.