Alpaca kind of love~

 

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“There’s a head and a foot showing!” my daughter in law exclaimed as she walked toward me from across the field. “Should we get some help?” My sister has a small ranch in our area and she has allowed an Alpaca farmer to use her farm for grazing; today there was a little surprise coming!

As my granddaughter and I walked back out to the pasture we realized a baby alpaca had been born just seconds before we arrived. As the tiny baby lay on the grass I watched all the mama’s in the field begin to close ranks; almost as if they were linking arms in protection of this precious life.

Scout and I stood quietly in amazement from a safe distance away as each of these “aunties” began to lick the face of this little one. Sweet cooing sounds filled the air as the baby was loved and nudged gently. I was surprised, even caught off guard by the instantaneous love and care each female alpaca had for this little one that wasn’t even theirs!

After 35 minutes had gone by each female began urging this new little life to stand up; careful nudging and nose-poking to move the baby to where they would stand and find mama’s milk.

It was so painful to watch this baby; wobbly legs and full of uncertainty, stand and take a few steps only to fall time and time and time again; feet flailing in the air. I wanted to jump in and help this little one yet if I even took one step toward them all the females would turn and give you “a look” that let us know we’d sure better stay put!!

Finally this baby alpaca stood and walked, still wobbly, yet stable enough to put one foot in front of the other. All the while, all the female alpacas encouraged, nurtured, nudged, and cooed in an effort to support this little one to walk with strength and confidence.

Once home I began to ponder my experience that day; all sorts of questions began pulsating through my brain! “Do we love this way?” “As human do we continue to lift up and encourage those we around us even if they fall time and time again?” “Do we speak words of encouragement when someone is struggling?” “And do we link arms in protection for those who are weak and learning to stand so that no one can enter the circle and cause harm?” As human beings do we love others in this selfless, tender way?

Nature can sure teach us some many powerful lessons; and this was certainly one of those!  My day on the little ranch truly impacted my heart as I knew that that many times we give up on others too soon, when someone falls too many times we tend to back away rather than lean further in, and frankly, we can tend to be exasperated rather than trying to building a united circle of support around an individual learning to stand.

Scout and I saw an example of the kind of love God bestows on us each and every day; those little alpacas preach a powerful sermon not soon to be forgotten.

“ Love is not a BECAUSE, it’s a NO MATTER WHAT”   Jodi Picoult

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Please Accept Me~

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I always wince whenever I reflect on my Jr. High years. I was taller than most of the girls, skinny legs and broad hips while many of my fellow students were short, cute, and probably a size 2 to my size 8! (At least the ones that I was envious of!).

I can easily recall how it felt to wonder where I actually fit in, who would I sit with for lunch, or even more challenging; who would I hang out with during that long “recess” after lunch. I am certain that I compensated by acting confident but inside I was insecure.

I am the middle child of 6 girls in my family so I may have had a bit of “middle child syndrome” but if I ponder those years for too long I can actually feel my body tense up even today! We all want to belong, to matter, to be wanted, and to be valued. This is part of our human nature.

Tonight I gave myself the gift of watching the movie “Wonder”. A story of a boy entering Jr. High for the first time in public school; he has a noticeable facial deformity that makes his experience 100% worse than anything I ever experienced. He endures, matures, and ultimately makes a difference in the school environment but it was a painful reminder of the powerful impact of rejection. Brought me to tears.

Haven’t we all experienced a lack of acceptance one time or another? Haven’t we all felt unsure of where we fit from time to time? Of course we have! Seeing it again tonight reminded me again how important it is for us to be empathetic and mindful when we see someone who is isolated or struggling to fit in; perhaps we can make a real difference in their life!

The holiday season can be especially hard for those who feel disconnected. Perhaps we could all up our game and be watchful and responsive if God taps our shoulder asking us to find a way to be inclusive. We all want to matter.

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