Outside the Box
Not all who wander are lost.
From the time I was born I had lived inside a pen with 99 other sheep. I had often wondered what it would be like on the outside…was the grass greener, tastier and more abundant beyond the fence? Sheep eat close to the ground so there were times when food was scarce yet had to be shared with the others.
Being well fed was not to a sheep’s advantage. We were destined to be eaten by the shepherd. The purest ones were burned on the sacrificial altar of the temple. That was something we tried not to think about.
One day I watched one of our flock crawl under the fence. I wanted to follow him, as sheep are known to do, but I didn’t. That one never came back…its whereabouts are still unknown.
Later I mustered my courage with the thought, “if one must die anyway wouldn’t having some choice as to how/why be worth a risk?”… and indeed it was. Eventually I managed to squeeze myself through a narrow opening and before I knew it I found myself free and alone. The world before me was immense and offered endless possibilities.
I don’t know who alerted the shepherd. Before long I could hear and recognize the sound of his voice ringing in the air. As the sound got closer I hid in the brambles trying not to make noise.
With 99 other sheep why on earth would that “good” shepherd leave the others unprotected just to find me? How foolish is that? The idea of being missed and searched for should make me feel pretty important to that shepherd. But there’s something not right with this story.
Uh oh, he’ s found me. His relentless search is over. I must resign myself being back into confinement. The other sheep will believe that the shepherd saved me from wild beasts and certain death…Isn’t all death certain? Isn’t his practice of using me as reparation for his sins a matter of certain death!
As he did with other strays, he’ll break my leg and carry me back to the flock…a deterrent against future dreams of freedom. The leg will heal but not my broken spirit. The shepherd will celebrate his find and tell the tale over and over to all who have ears to hear. How will they see it?