For example, we didn't expect to see a rather large rattlesnake stretched out across the road as we made our way down the gravel trail. He was big, and he looked mean. In one way, I was fascinated. I had never seen a rattlesnake that wasn't on television or behind the protective glass of a zoo exhibit. To see him out on the trail, slithering his way around, coiling up and looking ready to strike at anything that made it angry, was all a bit exciting. It was also terrifying. I hate snakes!
Neither did we expect to see a brutal murder. Mitch, as usual, was leading the way, bounding off into the woods on either side of the trail anytime he felt there was something which needed to be explored. On one such exploration, he came across a giant turkey. His enormous presence in the turkey's space sent the poor bird flying. At first, I laughed. After all, it was a comical sight (and sound) to see this turkey try to fly out of the woods away from Mitch. I stopped laughing, however, when I realized that Mitch wasn't watching the turkey. He was watching the myriad of scurrying poults (baby turkeys). Jason and I both screamed at once, "Mitch, no!" but it was too late. He had already chomped down on one of the poor things.
As Jason pulled Mitch away from the writhing body and the other scattering birds, I marched over to the side of the trail and turned my back, tears filling my eyes. Unfortunately, even with my back turned, I could hear the pitiful cries of the injured poult. I felt sick, and I didn't know what to do. I had no idea how badly the bird was injured, so I felt it was best to just keep going and let the mama bird come back to take care of it.
Mitch continued on down the trail as if nothing had happened. I can't blame him for that. Unfortunately, since the curse, that type of behavior is only natural. Kill or be killed. Dog eat dog (or turkey). This being the case, I couldn't bring myself to reprimand him. After all, he had dropped the bird once we called him down. He had obeyed. The problem was that our command was a bit too late.
It took quite a while for me to get the image of that horrible event out of my head and to finally stop the ebb of tears that flowed down my cheeks. But, as I mourned for that poor family of turkeys (whom we discovered on the way back had actually lost one of their own that morning), I was reminded of a few things for which I am supremely thankful.
1) Though we, as Christians, sorrow when we lose a loved one, we do not sorrow as those who have no hope. Because of Christ and His supreme sacrifice on the cross, we can rest in the knowledge that we will see our saved loved ones again. We can have peace in knowing that they are not suffering any longer, which brings me to the second thing for which I am thankful.
2) There will be a day when there will be no more pain and no more tears. In that day, the lion will lie down with the lamb and the dog with the turkey. There will be no more death, no more senseless brutality. The world will, once again, be as God intended for it to be.
3) When Mitch startled the mama turkey, she fled. She flew toward the skies, leaving her little ones to care for themselves. I am so thankful that my heavenly Father never leaves me to fight the enemy alone. He is always by my side, fighting for me, with me and even through me. He adds His strength to my own, ensuring victory, or at the very least, escape. No, never alone!
As we walked back to the car on Friday, I wiped one last tear from my eye and commented, "Nature is cruel." Yes, it is now, but it won't always be this way. As the Bible says, this too shall pass. And what a day that will be!
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. - Revelation 21:4