We woke up to a freckled fawn curled up underneath the backyard birdfeeder. The one among the volunteer sunflowers where the redbirds land and we chase the squirrels away.
I was home visiting my folks and the newborn deer was asleep near the window behind Daddy’s puzzle table. He figured, sometime in the night, her mama jumped the fence laden with life and birthed her baby in the backyard.
It seemed at first as though the doe might have abandoned her fragile fawn. The baby looked small, vulnerable, and alone against the wide blue sky. But scanning the horizon, we noticed the doe occasionally appeared in the dappled light at the edge of the tree line, stock-still with her ears tuning in the wind like radar.
For almost a week, we watched as the mama stood guard from the pines during the day and came to feed her baby at night.
My nephew arrived midweek to mow the high grass in the pasture, but we could see the small dark indentation where the spotted fawn lay in the open field. We knew from my Game Warden brother-in-law that moving the baby deer could make her an orphan. Every spring his office is inundated with calls from people thinking a fawn has been abandoned. But there is a process in play between a doe and her offspring.
So we waited.
One day. Two days. Three.
The days turned to seven until the fawn grew strong enough to head for the winding stream where the deer run.
The tall grass is cut short now, but for a while it hid new life. Awe. Wonder. Mystery.
This new life like dappled sunlight through the pines was hidden right outside our window. Right where we could see it if we would just pay attention. It was in full view through a wide picture window, almost as if we were meant to see it, as if it were for us.
And this fragile new life was kept safe by the mama who carried it, lept the tall fence, and groaned to give it life. This bearer hid her baby in the tall grass keeping close watch until strength was strong.
I couldn’t help but think of baby Moses floating in a basket made by his mother and hidden among the reeds of the Nile while his sister, Miriam, kept watch along the river bank.
Though for a moment it seemed so, neither were abandoned. There was always a watcher, a protector, a lover nearby. A process in play between Love and Beloved.
God our Father does such things for us:
Carry us. Leap tall boundaries to birth us. Groan to give us life. Stay near always. Never abandon us no matter how it might feel.
Hide new life deep inside us. Give us a river to drink from.
Jesus tells us in John 14:18-19,
“I will not leave you orphaned. I’m coming back.
In just a little while the world will no longer see me,
but you’re going to see me because I am alive and
you’re about to come alive.
At that moment you will know absolutely that I’m in my Father,
and you’re in me, and I’m in you.”
Every once in a while, I get a glimpse of a hidden place. Home. I get a peek into a wide open field and see there is more glory tucked into our world than we can imagine, more hidden inside us than we realize. And it is hidden there by design, built-in by a Loving hand cupped to my face.
That hidden place is so strong it is almost in plain sight. As if it wants to be found. As if we are made to be filled with its shape of love. As if, maybe we once were.
When that happens, I feel like a girl just waking from a deep sleep. Maybe I was under a spell like Sleeping Beauty and finally got my kiss. Maybe I’ve been sleepwalking like I did as an adolescent. My eyes wide open, talking even, but not really seeing, scaring my Mama to death.
Whatever that gauzy sleepiness is, when the veil is pulled back, light streams in my windows. When the clouds finally clear and my eyes adjust, I realize that what I am seeing was always there. Tucked inside. I suppose I had been walking right past that window, missing the whole birthing season.
I am learning to pause before the windows of life and look - really look. Scan the horizon. Squint my eyes. Watch for new life. Listen for a heartbeat. Trust.
New life and God's tender care might be closer than we think. I sometimes feel it tingling behind my eyes, tears rising from somewhere deep, bringing thankfulness to my lips. Honey.
I think Paul knows full well the hidden life that I got a glimpse of for it knocked him down on the road to Damascus. He speaks of his discovery in Colossians 1:27,
And this is the secret: Christ in your hearts is your only hope of glory.
Christ living in us, our only hope of glory.
This living, breathing life is something I call wild hope. I am waking up to recognize the Love of the Father in Jesus, to make Him and His ways familiar to my soul. My watering hole.
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
Let's notice the right here and now. That way we can notice God Himself. I'm taking some cues from God’s green fields and looking for Him nearby with wonder in my eyes, fully expecting Him hidden in the pines.
Sometimes to find that hidden life we just need to rest, tread lightly, and then head for the stream.
a prayer for hope
dear God who loves so well -
you carried me. you jumped the fence between worlds
to bring new life.
in Jesus, you took on the fragility of skin, and bones,
i marvel that all hope is hidden in Christ in me.
that's wild hope.