Lily

Lily

Lily

This is Lily, a beast of noble character and marvelous lineage.  Once a wild animal, she was saved from roaming the western plains and a difficult life, usually combined with an early death, by the Kleinhans family, in-laws to my daughter Chandra.  Lily now leads a fairly pampered life, with a consistent source of food, a barn for when the weather gets bad, and a family that loves her in spite of the fact that she eats the cedar boards that make up the door of the barn.  She is friendly, but not too.  A little cautious, but she let me enter into her space to take this shot.

Donkeys really are noble creatures.  I can think of two occasions where donkeys were used to fulfill prophecies in the Bible.  On Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem triumphantly upon a donkey.  The other is poignant today, as we just celebrated the feast of the Holy Innocents, for it was Joseph leading Mary and the infant Jesus, who were riding on a donkey, as they fled to Egypt to avoid the slaughter of male children as ordered by Herod.

Donkeys have been the butt of many jokes throughout the years.  We look upon them as a sort of second cousin once removed from the horse.  In truth, they are reliable, loyal, sure footed, brave, and generally friendly.  They have their irritating habits, like chewing apart barn doors, but they are really wonderful creatures.

It’s those two tasks mentioned above that make them stand out for me.  To think that these animals were entrusted with carrying our Lord to safety as a baby, and then to carry Him to triumph as an adult.  The donkeys in those stories served God unassumingly, with obedience, giving great care to their passengers.  In both cases, horses could have been the animal of choice.  It’s likely a horse would have taken the Holy Family to Egypt much faster than a donkey.  And just imagine Jesus riding into Jerusalem atop a great war horse and what that image might have done to the crowds.

Yet it was a donkey that carried Jesus both times.  A simple, loving, caring, careful and obedient donkey, serving God because that what he was made to do.

I believe we could learn a lot about humility and service from donkeys.

Lily truly is a noble creature, of high pedigree and vaunted status.  I’m honored that she gave me the chance to look in her eyes and capture a small sliver of that beauty and nobility.

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