Six Days of Advent: The Lamb

I am the lamb…


I was a cat, impersonating the lamb

On Woods Avenue in Lincoln, Nebraska in a house way too small for seven people, but full of the stories that make a house a home.

Christmas Eve, where as a blended family (both my grandfathers had been raised Protestant — one converted and one resisted) — traditions on the farm ran strong from first generation cultures of preservation and remembrance.  Never quite so evident as Christmas Eve. Suet Pudding, Carols, Chili for supper and Midnight Mass —

Gifts exchanged between each member of the family, one by one to savor the few in number and the deliberate action of things made by hand and those purchased with the hard work of labor done with diligence, sweat and often tears.

Before gifts, a Christmas pageant where every child had a part and the day of the Eve was spent in practice upon practice — to tell the story of the manger.

Youngest and least stage ready, I was assigned to the role of the docile lamb.

Resistance to compliance was early fashioned in me, as I initiated my emergence from the box of the expectations of others.

“I don’t know anything about being a lamb” I told the four older directors “and there isn’t a good outfit” (it’s all about the outfit) — “but I know about cats.  I will be a cat” (I had a ‘super cute’ cat outfit from Halloween).  

Knowing the slim likelihood of molding me into something I perceived was illogical and unworthy, they relented, but clearly defined my role, “Then you will have to be a cat that acts like a lamb. Lay there and listen — don’t move or say anything”

That’s how I learned the story of the lamb.

I learned to be a lamb by being a cat.
Showered in the silence of being a lamb
the little lamb of Bethlehem

I am the lamb
I am the little one.
I am not the sheep
following the shepherd by voice and smell.
I am the lamb
small, vulnerable, needy and hungry.
I am the lamb
creeping softly, 
almost without knowledge
under the hay 
following something inside of me
that keeps leading me towards
a magnetic force 
that both directs me
and leaves me free

I am the lamb
soft, gentle, newly born and unknowing
I am the lamb
eyes closed and trusting the light from within
to lead me in a direction
that I cannot see
and yet I have the vision
that can be valued more than gold
and trusted more than the wisdom of the stars.
I am the lamb 
seeking my way to the center of things
in the middle of the mess
in the circumference 
of simultaneous chaos and peace.

I am the lamb
showered in the silence of something
magnificent that draws me here
with clarity and courage
in the midst of my fragile start-up state.
I am the lamb
here in this stable
beneath this empty manger
surrounded by the hay
listening to the lilt of the oxen
the voice of the shepherd and the distant
sound of a donkey laboring beneath a load.

I am the lamb
drawn here in this time
in this place
waiting for what I cannot see.
Believing what I do not know.
I am keeping watch
warming the place for 
I am doing something 
that without me
would be left undone.
I am here now.
I will wait.
I will warm.
Showered with Silence
I will love
I am the lamb.

I am the lamb
who started out as a cat

Thank you for letting me be a cat