I thought I was doing pretty well with this rugged pioneer woman thing. I have ducks who know me and even come when I call them—provided I have food. I have devoted chickens who lay way more eggs than I can eat. I have a garden that continues to produce so much bounty, we have plenty to share. So all in all, I’d say my country-girl skills have come along pretty nicely.
But nothing in my life—and I do mean nothing—could have prepared me for the abject terror I felt when I was nearly mugged in my yard by a tiny thug with beady eyes and a couple of blade-sharp teeth the size of . . . well, the size of small kitchen knives.
It was early in the day. I’d walked down to the pond to give the ducks their morning treat, a store-bought mixture of corn, barley, and various seeds and grains, which they share with the chickens. (Please don’t tell them. The chickens are quite snobbish and so are the ducks, and I’ve heard them bragging to each other that they’re the favorites, citing the evidence as superior treats. It would crush them if they knew it all came from the same bag.)
Back to my story. I was returning to the house with an empty treat-bowl when I heard tiny footsteps behind me. I turned to find this little hooligan chasing me, demanding some treats for him and his fellow gangstahs who were no doubt hiding in the trees, waiting to waylay me. He chattered some obscene words in squirrel language, which I’m too much of a lady to repeat.
I walked faster.
So did he.
So did he.
Finally, he got so close, I had no choice but to fight for my life. This is the point where all those early morning workouts with Superman paid off. I yelled, “You picked the wrong victim, you little brute!” And with a series of moves even Chuck Norris would have been proud of, I showed the hooligan who was boss.
In that moment, I had the mind of a tiger. The eyes of an eagle. With a palm heel strike to both ears followed by a crane kick and a double knife hand block, I left that perp in a stunned pile of mush, in the middle of the rose bushes.
Actually, I just made all that up because I’ve always wanted to be in an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger. The truth is, I bopped him on the head with my plastic bowl, and he turned around and ran up a tree.
Then I went inside and drank several shots of the hard stuff.
Yeah, that’s right.
Whole-bean coffee. Freshly ground. Dunkin’ Donuts brand.
As I tossed back those shots, and my pulse returned to a semi-normal rate, I contemplated my near-death experience. And I was reminded, not for the first time, that life can sometimes take us by surprise.
And that’s why we’ve got to be prepared.
Every morning, when Superman hops out of bed like Tigger on steroids and says, “Come on, Pooh! It’s time to exercise!” I usually want to exercise my right to ignore him and pull the covers over my head. But he’s a persistent coach. He may be annoying at 5 a.m., but he only wants me to be healthy. To be my best. To be prepared for whatever physical challenges life may bring.
So I grudgingly roll out of bed and stumble—I mean jog—our mile. I do pushups and crunches and several types of stretches.
And I hate every minute of it.
But if it weren’t for those morning exercises, I might not have had the agility to fight off my attacker. I could be dead now, y’all.
The same is true in my spiritual life. Too often, I wait for some life-circumstance bully to attack, and I cry out to God and beg Him to save me. Which he does, but if I’m not prepared, I come out of the fight badly beaten and bruised.
But when I consistently read His promises, they’re there when I need them, like a sword ready for battle. When I talk to Him regularly, He leaves me feeling encouraged and strong. When I spend time with Him every day, He’s never far away, and I don’t have to face the giants alone.
Or even the squirrels.
“But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief . . . Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” 1 Thessalonians 5:4, 16-18.