“He was a mighty hunter before the Lord”
Recently I read the last novel written by a favorite author of mine. Historian Stephen Ambrose died in 2002, only a short time after I “discovered” him. He was a prolific writer and as a result, there are still works of his I have yet to read, and I love knowing there’s still more for me to enjoy.
The novel I read this summer is called This Vast Land, and it is a fictionalization of the diary of George Shannon, a member of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. There are a lot of quotes taken directly from his diary, and they were frequently interesting, and sometimes even educational. And there’s nothing I love more than when something unexpected gets me thinking. Take this entry:
“Elk are a greater challenge to hunt. You must use all your skills… You must find the game, and circle, and sneak up, taking into account the wind, the lay of the land, the probable movements of the quarry, the time of the season and the time of day and whether or not this gang has been hunted recently, and much more.”
Now, not being a hunter, a lot of that wouldn’t occur to me. Or if it did, I would assume that it would be the same for all animals you hunt, as opposed to the idea that some animals are trickier to hunt than others. And I started thinking about different situations that call for finesse or a careful approach.
But mostly what I think is that it sounds like relationships. Interacting with those around me. It seems that very often, it’s complicated. Whether it’s a stranger or someone I love, maybe one of us is hungry or tired or impatient. Maybe their tone of voice makes me think they are irritated or my words make me seem uninterested. And maybe none of that is true, but just the suspicion changes the interaction.
It makes me want to try to be more patient and understanding with that surly clerk, or that overly talkative woman at my church, or that loved one who snaps at me. There’s a lot to keep in mind about what they might be thinking, and what they might be going through.
Love, with patience and understanding, is how Christ loved, and how we are to love. It’s also, apparently, the best way to hunt elk, but I can’t end on that note, so I’ll just say this: