One of the best parts about writing The Living Water series has been finding new friends in the writing world. Some help me market, some give me much-needed encouragement, and some make me smile. This newspaper article by Alan Daugherty does all that. I couldn’t resist sharing it with you as we finally welcome spring.
Alan writes a regular Thursday article in the Bluffton, IN News-Banner. His editor graciously agreed to let me post it in its entirety. This article ran in the paper last Thursday, March 17th.
I hope Alan’s take on The Thief makes you smile. And remember, have mercy on those pesky, bewhiskered thieves who visit your garden this spring.
Angelkeep Journals by Alan Daugherty
The Thief: a novel
I dropped to my knees. The thought of prayer came to mind. Should I ask for divine protection of the seeds placed in the veggie bed? But God was the presence over all of creation, thus He provided for all of nature, plants, animals, and even me. To assist in the hopes of future bean and summer squash proliferation, the chicken wire was worked into the soil for a sturdy blockade.
Last spring’s earliest planting of similar varieties offered rapid growth, only to be snuffed of life and nibbled down to a single, slow, withering stem. The culprit, a sinister villain I ranted and raved about a year ago, was never spotted in the act of thievery. It could have been a chipmunk, later proven the true thief in a patio pot location. Just as likely, a bunny performed the massive massacre mastication. Something ate the seed leaves (catyledon.)
Today, Maundy Thursday, and tomorrow’s Good Friday, to be followed by Easter, thoughts of several Bible thieves pop up faster than seedlings. Almost everyone, even those who seldom enter a church, knows of Christ’s crucifixion between two thieves. A recent book release titled “The Thief” by Stephanie Landsem tells the story from a fresh perspective. That book is a must own. It should be read by every believer, every year, every Easter season.
Like Angelkeep bunnies and chippers, a young Jerusalem thief worked for food, not from malice. Landsem’s Thief historical adventure story caused me to relate to the desperation of the market thief that knew the difference between right and sin. The character even gave part of her takings to the poor at the Dung Gate as atonement, but needed to continue stealing for her and her blind brother’s survival. Another’s loss was her life-sustaining gain.
Last April, over $30 was spent on chicken wire caging, stakes, and mesh to end the repetitive loss of newly sprouted seeds. After empathizing with the thief in the book, this April’s planting came with a twinge of pre-forgiveness, even a sense of needed mercy. Surely there will be a chipmunk wise enough to burrow under the fence and repeat last year’s feast of zucchini seed. “The Thief,” a novel, implored me to consider a bit of Christ-like mercy for Angelkeep critters, even if caught in a theft act.
The book was an emotional read which I’d rank a compelling 6, on a scale of 1-5. Stephanie Landsem is a new Christian Historical Fiction author, but her blending of characters into Biblical content was done with such finesse that it all felt scriptural. I liked that. There should be a movie adaptation. The book’s themes of redemption, love, mercy, and forgiveness poured dramatically from the pages.
The anger remembered from the repeated theft of squash seeds in Angelkeep beds had little to mirror mercy. Unwillingness to share what would eventually be an unbelievable 2013 bean and squash abundance with animals seems like a Judas betrayal. $30 of silvery wire the price paid. 30 pieces of silver. Veggie greed within me blocked the recognition of the natural food search instincts of the smaller of God’s creations.
April plantings of 2014, after reading “The Thief,” came with a new growing season incorporating mercy. One thief on the cross cursed and died. The other acknowledged his sinful greed. “Today you will be with Me…” Mercy and forgiveness for his human failures were extended to the repentant thief.
Could I do no less for the thief of Angelkeep? While on bended knee against Osage orange logs that formed the raised veggie beds, a pray of thanksgiving was offered. Frozen veggies from 2013 continued being eaten from God’s abundance.
Let nature and mankind know Angelkeep as a blessing to all.
On the outside of the chicken wire barricade I planted a row of excess bean seeds. Outside caged yellow summer squash hills I planted a row of squash as an offering to the new generation of bunnies and chipmunks who will be using their God-given instinct to survive.
Chip, Dale, and Peter Cottontail, will not steal. They will not be labeled “The Thief.” If Anglkeep provides the critters with their own bean row, a gesture of mercy, perhaps the animals will respond in kind. A lesson read and learned from “The Thief.”
Thank you, Alan, for your thoughts on how we can show mercy to our little garden thieves. Who is planting their garden this spring? Will you be setting aside an offering for the chipmunks and rabbits like Alan?