I’ve been out of circulation for quite a few months – and there’s a reason for that. Back in late 2014 I was struck by a nasty disease called polymyalgia, which came close at the time to destroying my mobility. Fortunately, once diagnosed, the solution was revealed – prednisone.
Aaargh! Well I wasn’t entirely happy with THAT, but does one want to walk freely or not? In addition, polymyalgia was causing mayhem with my blood – too many platelets, anemia etc. So my doctor put me on a modest dose of prednisone and over the period of about 18 months we tailed it back and achieved a recovery. (Which some say is impossible. Well, I’ve got news for you…)
In the meantime, however, I had an accident and went to a chiropractor – fortunately a very good one. So we entered into a process of sorting out the curves in my spine and re-stabilizing my backbone.
I’d been quite depressed at the time of the polymyalgia. The only answer seemed to be to move away from this place, which I’ve been associated with for 47 years and have loved dearly. I’d even got to the point where I wasn’t interested anymore.
But things kept getting in my way – including shortage of finances to get the place tidied up for sale. On top of that I had a tree fall on my roof (damage? – oh yes!) and a second tree taken down because it was in danger of following suit. Fallout everywhere. Funds getting even lower. I seemed to be stuck in mud.
Maybe I wasn’t meant to go?
Then just before last Christmas, the tide started to turn. We began to win with the chiropractic. I was no longer limping. I’m now getting around my land as in the old days – steep and hilly as it is – and working quite hard, if carefully. There are a few things I now cannot do, but apart from that, the recovery is little short of miraculous. I will go into this in more detail in a later post.
I decided to stay – how could I ever have thought of leaving? To keep my grass down I’ve taken on breeding rare breeds Damara sheep. My first 2 bought in early July are a Damara/Arapawa cross and her daughter. Both have had lambs – and the lambs at 2 weeks old are a delight. Damaras hail from Namibia and are thought to be a breed from the Mediterranean that gradually moved south through Africa – a Middle East connection even in this!
My mother bred black Romney sheep here for the wool, and I am pleased to be into sheep now, rather than goats (much as I loved them). Somehow, ever since I was born again in late 2006, I’ve not got over the biblical distinction between sheep and goats, where the sheep are seen as the flock that knows the Shepherd’s voice and needs protection, and the goats as somehow different: notwithstanding that both species were herded by the patriarchs, and both contributed great value to the Jewish economy. Clearly also, if sheep and goats were herded together, there were times when they simply HAD to be separated, for reasons of logistics.
I think it’s worth noting that the iconography that links the image of the goat to Baal and Satan is in fact of fairly recent origin – the Phoenecians and Canaanites depicted Baal as either a man or a man with a bull’s head. In the bible, Satan is ‘the old serpent’.
The Good Shepherd
Jesus characterized himself, not as a fisher of men, though He used that metaphor to draw in His first disciples, who were fishermen – but as ‘The Good Shepherd’, and sheep feature so many times in His sayings and parables. I am very happy now to have changed species, and to be in the category of ‘shepherds‘! Every day I get great joy from this.
The prophecy I quote at the top of this post came to me on 11 August. It fitted so clearly with what I was doing that it spoke volumes and gave me great comfort.
Jesus foretold this of Himself at His second coming:
“When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.” (Matthew 25:32-33: The Message)