Lent's Little Foxes

Catch for us the little foxes that spoil the vine…

This passage from the Song of Songs has come alive for me in this past few weeks as we begin Lent. Here in NZ we don’t have to contend with many predators and certainly not foxes in vineyards. We become kind of immune to the idea that we have anything to concern ourselves over when it comes to danger lurking in our garden.

Recently we added three chickens to our backyard, lovely white birds that will grow into productive hens, rewarding us with fresh eggs daily if we treat them well. On Ash Wednesday, just as the girls were settling into their third day with us our neighbourhood cat ‘Whitesocks’ broke into the chicken run and stole away with one of them; she was last seen held in the vice-grip of this murderous beast running through our garden. Our feline friend who visited us daily for a saucer of milk and some attention turned into a monster disguised in a soft grey fur coat. I realized that we had an enemy at large, and from that point I needed to be diligent and watchful over our little flock, ready to fight for their lives and rid our garden of that pesky cat! 

It led me to think about the little foxes in the vineyard in the story of the Song of Songs, those that were threatening to destroy the relationship between the Shulammite and her lover and also the little enemies of our own soul that sometimes come disguised in innocence and beauty yet have the power to destroy us.

In my story the cat became the fox, providing a metaphor and questions for Lent. Who would have thought that something so small and beautiful could wreak so much havoc? What are the foxes in my own life that even though come beautifully disguised could be a thing of danger to me.

I have made a decision to be diligent when it comes to protecting our new brood, and am determined that I will be as committed to the wellbeing of my own soul as I partake in this Lenten season, and hopefully beyond.  To be honest about the things I should let go will hopefully generate a space within me that makes room  for new things to flourish.

Rob Byrnelent