Possums, Prayer and the Red Dirt Road

Our service last Sunday was over being offended.  How you let that feeling build up in you and then blow.  Well Pastor used more professional words.  He explained how it starts out as hurt, then goes to hate, then to revenge.  If you have gotten to this point you are no longer living like Jesus would.  So after  this service on praying for the people who offend  you or your enemy I started studying about prayer and revisiting Joyce Meyers Battlefield of the Mind.

It is so easy to let words from someone else direct your mood.  We react.  Well I do.  But my reaction is not outward – it goes down inside with a smile on.  Then it sometimes is directed at the wrong person or just kept inside.  I either pray about it, forgive and move,  on or it builds.  To work on improving how I receive words I am changing my prayer life this week.   A man’s insight gives him patience, and his virtue is to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11   I pray for my children, husband, mom, family & friends and the direction God is needing me to go. This is easy, but to pray for people whose words offend you is taking time. I am working on praying this way.  Praying for God to bless them, work in their heart and mind etc. Just as Jesus went up to begin his greatest teaching of all time with the sermon on the mount; he was teaching his followers to be peacemakers and merciful.   Matthew 5:44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!  I am working on my communication to improve my relationship with God, and this in turn will improve how I feel to others and about myself.  Learning to communicate with God daily; It is your prayer life.  To forgive someone as Jesus did when he died for your sins and forgave those who persecuted Him, means you are living your life as Jesus did.  Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up His garments by casting lots.

Do you offer up quick “arrow” prayers? Lord keep us safe as your husband is passing someone on those single lane farmer to market roads.  Do you pray as you lay in bed at night to clear your mind? Do you allow yourself time alone with your thoughts, prayers and scripture to build your relationship? Have you prayed and you feel like God is not hearing you? Have you prayed and thought – that’s not what I wanted?

I have a book mark with ways to pray for your children. My mom gave me this when we were recovering from hurricane Ike. This was a time we did not have to rebuild our home physically, but repair mentally.   Granny passed away during this storm.  We lost a woman who held her family together with prayer, hard work, and love.   A woman who showed you her Christian strength by giving, loving and praying with no emotion of anger or sarcasm.  Who helped Sister find her shoe when no one else would. Who loved you unconditionally.  Who brought home Kentucky fried chicken on Fridays when she got paid.   My children’s school life was turned upside down. Campuses were rearranged and I had started a new job 2 weeks ago -off the Island. My mother-n-law lost her house she built with her own two hands, so we began to rebuild with her.  This storm opened my eyes to my family and my need for God’s support and guidance.  We could not have made it through this season of our life if we had not had our faith.  Our prayer life.  I could not “just” fix it.

Everywhere I turned during this story I was finding verses on prayer.  Pray without ceasing. 1Thessalonians 5:17-18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  All through the seasons of life God is with you.  He is with you in times of happiness, sorrow, trouble, and fear.  To thank God for a time of rebuild or death is difficult.  To lean not on your own understanding, but to rely on your faith and God’s will takes work. It takes spending time with Him daily and praying, being still to hear Him and to be able to see when one door shuts and one door opens.  I always told my DON God was going to have to kick me through the door when I left my correctional career.  He did.  I left two weeks before Ike.  Leaving was His will and I followed His way.  This allowed me to with my children during Ike.  To be by Granny’s side as she went home to heaven. I did not have to stay on the Island during the hurricane, nor return to help relieve workers. He made my path straight.  Just as he has done throughout my life and during this next adventure.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.…

Today we sang as we walked down our long red dirt road.  We drug our buckets, sticks and wagon with us down the first hill. You could hear us coming from a mile away, with the sounds of the rocks hitting the bottom of the wagon. We drug our long walking sticks behind us.  This made lines in the gravel for someone to find us in case we got lost.  Really the scraping sound the sticks made on the road mixed with the pings of the rocks on wagon just sounded great. Music to our ears.   By the time we reached the bottom of the first hill we had decided to pull over and take a break before we started up the next hill.  A log truck was coming down the long hill, so we had to get in the ditch anyways.

We, being my sister and brother.  I am the oldest.  My sister is the middle child and brother is the baby.  At this point of our life we were 5, 7, and 9 years old.  We moved in with Granny when I was entering the 4th grade. Granny’s house became home to us for 5 years. The red dirt road and surrounding woods was our playground.

Our three-bedroom, white wooden house- with red shutters, sat bout 50 yards off the red dirt road.  You could smell the iron ore in the air, from the dust that blew into the unsealed windows. This small house had wooden and laminate floors.  The wooden walls had peeling, cloth wall paper and paneling.   Our wooden home sat on cinder blocks.  The little wooden house was surrounded by towering cedar and oak trees, with one beautiful mimosa tree with a wisteria vine entwined in it.  We had decided we were going to go to the dump to collect items for our new club house.  Since our disaster with cooking in our “smoke” club house,  we were banned from having a door on it.  So the door, has turned into a large beautiful gray table for us.  Plus our shelves in our club house needs decorating.

We climbed up into the edge of the woods waiting on the log truck to pass by.  We did this to try and hide from all  the dust these trucks kick up. We sat and enjoyed our kool-aid while watching billows of red dust settle on the leaves and ground.  Once the dust cleared we climbed out of our hiding place and continued our journey to the dump.  Sister climbs out onto the wagon first, then Brother and me. Brother pulled the wagon today.  He has been very protective of the wagon for some reason, but we don’t argue with him.  This means less work on me and Sister.

Sister sings out, “I see the white gravel road!”

Yep there it is.  Our white rocked road to the black berry bushes and the dump pile full of treasures.  We have found old chairs that we put back together and a small book shelf to add to the crooked one dad let us build. We were hunting today for vases, glasses, plates, silverware, pictures and anything to make our club house pretty and like a home.  We walked up to the piles of trash, some in bags, some not.  The dump stretched down the road about a quarter of a mile. We noticed new bags and some sweet person had set out for us a triangular table and lamp.  It was like they knew we would be here on this glorious morning.  We spread out and began our search.  Our walking sticks came in handy for opening up bags or moving trash you just could not bring yourself to touch.

Brother was the first to holler for us to come look what he had found.  He had a broken ax. Oh this could be fixed, we had seen daddy do fix an ax before.  Brother put it in the wagon and we continued our hunt for treasures.  I had found a blue bottle and a green plate to add to our collection from a box of old newspapers. Sister was bringing us two more plates and a vase with this lady on it.  We were sitting down admiring our treasures when Sister whispers. “Don’t move something is watching us.”

I looked up and saw these two black eyes peering at us from under the box I had been looking through.  We started scooting back as the trash started to shift and fall away from the eyes.  We jumped up and hollered as we saw this pig faced rat, the size of a large fat house cat fall with the trash down to the gravel road. It got to its feet and screamed at us with these hundreds of fang like teeth.  It’s going to eat us. I began praying out loud, “Oh Lord don’t let this thing get us.”

Sister throws her stick at this rat looking creature.  This doesn’t work.  This huge black eyed creature was still growling and creeping towards us.  We hear brother  tell us, “Move out of the way!”

Sister and I jumped up onto the pile of trash and see Brother pull out his BB gun. “Oh Lord, we are going to be in trouble again.” Brother was not supposed to get the BB gun out without telling Dad.  Brother shoots and psheww he hits it.  This critter done fell over dead from a BB. “Oh thank you Jesus!”

Sister asks, “What was that thing?”

I don’t have a clue and I”m still sending up those arrow prayers of thanks and trying to figure out how are we going to get out of this predicament of having the BB gun out away from the house.

Brother answers Sisters question with confidence, “That Sisters was a possum.”

We carefully walked over to this possum as Brother continued to rattle off facts, “Snake venom doesn’t work in their bodies, they like to eat bones of road kill,  they have an opposable toe, they can carry stuff with their tails and they play dead.”

I stop.  Play dead?  The closer we got we saw that foam was coming out of it’s mouth and it smelled dead.  The odor was horrible. It has to be dead.  This ol’ possum had all four legs up in the air, laying on his back and those beady black eyes were peering off into the heavens. When you die, don’t your eyes stay open.  In all the Agatha Christie, Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes books and shows I think that was what I remembered.  I finally have to say something.  “We should bury this creature, since we killed it.”

Sister and Brother agree.  We will bury it right here by the trash pile.  Brother got the ax and started hitting the ground to dig the hole.

Sister had a brilliant question, “How are we going to pick it up?”

We both looked at Brother and waited for his answer.  It was his fault we are having to do this anyways.

Brother sighs and says, “I can pick it up by it’s tail or scoot it over with our walking sticks.”

Oh that sounds good.  We gathered around it and asked God to forgive us for killing the possum. We thanked God for keeping us safe and to not let Dad find out Brother had brought his BB gun on our adventure, even though it did protect us. That was a “good enough” prayer.  Amen.   Brother bent down to scoot it across the road into it’s final resting place when we hear a burp and a GRRRRR!  We all screamed and watched in disbelieve as this possum jumped up, spun in the air and landed onto all four of his legs, just like a cat.  This possum had came back from the dead and took off running.

We looked down and didn’t see a drop of blood.

Brother responded, “I guess Mutual of Omahas Wild Kingdom was right, those little rascals do play dead.”

We breathed a sigh of relief and gather our treasures, wagons and walking sticks and head back down the red dirt road to home.

The peace and faith to all this is His will. He will give you direction. Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. James 5:13


Facts of Possums was researched at https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-opossums




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