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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Backyard Destruction

I have seen this before, so I know what it is.  My backyard is being destroyed from the inside out.  There is some underground terrorism happening right outside my window.  The destruction happens at night when I am out of it.  The destruction is apparent; the destroyer is stealthy and remains unseen.  It causes me to laugh and cry at the same time.  I have a mole!
   
Wikipedia is graphic in its description of this little devil.  The first descriptive statement is accurate, but gives no indication of the devilish behavior that results from moles.  Wikipedia says, “Moles are small animals adapted to a subterranean lifestyle (i.e., fossorial).”  I read on.  “They have cylindrical bodies, velvety fur, very small, inconspicuous ears and eyes.”  Described this way, you would expect every little kid on the block would want one as a pet.  Velvety fur sounds like a real come on!  It sounds like an exotic piece of clothing---“especially made of velvety fur!”
   
Moles are very small says our source.  I can imagine if you are going to live underground, being small is an advantage.  And they have inconspicuous eyes and ears.  In comparison, I suppose all of us humans have conspicuous eyes and ears.  I never thought about having big ears, but compared to a mole, apparently I do.  I admit to being a little embarrassed to know my ears are conspicuous. 
   
I would like to know how that mole works.  How does he make such a mess of my backyard?  You can follow the tunnels that are made.  From what I read in the article, the moles are looking for worms and insects that also live underground.  The other thing that bugs me is the areas of grass that the mole uproots.  Again, I assume the little devils is looking for food, but his quest for food certainly is doing a number on my backyard.  Maybe food trumps aesthetics in the real world, but it does cause me some consternation.
   
I wanted to share this story in order to use it as an analogy for something more personal and serious.  The mole in the backyard I can take care of---or hire someone to do it.  As an analogy, I want to take it in two directions.  The first direction is to think about the mole on my body---and perhaps your body, too.  If you live long enough, you become a candidate for a mole or two on your body.  Some moles are harmless.  Other moles can be more serious. 
   
These kinds of moles can cause destruction as real as that mole in my backyard.  Some moles on our bodies are cancerous.  Cancer makes a mess of our body as much as that mole makes a mess of my backyard.  Cancer can be dealt with, but we have to be intentional and deliberate.  We can be thankful for the experts who come to our rescue.  Just as I hope my backyard can be whole and healthy, so do I have the same hope for my body.  Any of us want our bodies to be whole and healthy.  Moles can mess up both backyards and bodies.
   
The second analogy of the mole in the backyard that I want to make has to do with the more invisible moles inside our bodies.  Unlike the mole on my skin, which I can see and deal with, there are moles inside that are more difficult to know about and to deal with.  These internal moles are more like the mole in my backyard.  I never see the little devil in their own right, but I can witness the destruction.  Let me be specific.
   
The internal mole I am describing has classically be called sin.  I know this word, sin, is not in vogue in most contemporary circles.  Seldom do I find myself in the company of people who think and talk about sin.  But I am also clear that just because sin is not part of my mindset and vocabulary does not mean it is nonexistent.  I am confident the reality of sin is present in most people’s lives, whether they call it that or not.  Even if I don’t like the word, sin, the reality is there.  There are other words we use to describe the phenomenon.  We use words to describe it: mistake, oops, screwed up, blew it, etc. 
   
Sin can be as corrosive and destructive as that mole in my backyard.  If we don’t attend to it, it makes an even bigger mess.  I find it ironic that many people would be more concerned with the mole in the backyard than they might be the inner mole in their lives.  And I also find it to be true that it is impossible to be whole and healthy if we do nothing about this inner mole called sin. 
   
To deal with this inner mole of sin does not mean we have to go to a doctor who went to medical school.  But we will probably have to invite the physician of our soul into our lives.  The physician of our soul was an early Christian image for God.  This physician will deal kindly with us.  Usually instruments of forgiveness, love and encouragement are the medicine that brings us back to wholeness and health.  The treatment need not be awful.  But we will need attentive treatment.
   
Throughout this reflection, I realize I can deal with the mole causing backyard destruction.  I also want to be attentive to that inner mole, which also can be destructive.  I want a life of wholeness and health.

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