Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Hit By a Turkey

I have a friend who was recently traveling on one of our rural Michigan roads. It was a Sunday morning and the road was empty...except for a turkey. The next thing he knew, he and his mother had this wild turkey banging against their windshield. (I didn't think turkeys could fly enough to get that high!)

The force of the turkey shattered the windshield. They had glass on their lap and in their hair in the front seat of their vehicle. They were unhurt, and returned home, a little bit shaken. And with quite a story to tell! I have shared the story a couple of times and thought about it on my own a few more. Everytime I think of the picture, it brings a smirk to my face. Hit by a turkey. Are you kidding me?

This is the third incident my friend has had on this particular road. One time it was ice. Another was a deer. Those are unfortunate but not too unique. But hit by a turkey? (My daughters have been repeating the Gilmore Girls dialoguge where Rory complains she was "hit by a deer". "You mean you hit a deer?" a friend asks. "No," she explains, "the deer hit me!")

I think getting hit by a turkey might be a pretty good metaphor for life. I have friends who have been hit by "turkeys". A cheating spouse takes the kids and breaks up the family. A lump appears unexpectedly. The company decides to "downsize" you out a job to save the company (which does you no good when you're unemployed). A child makes crappy decision after crappy decision in a spiral of idiocy and the parent is left to clean up the mess.

I don't know where you turn when life hits you with a turkey. Some take a walk. Some spend some time in meditation or prayer. Some pick out their favorite song and turn up the volume till the windows rattle. I have to confess that a combination of those things have been helpful to me at various times.

One consistent friend for me during my "turkey times" is the Book of Psalms. Psalms are a compilation of prayers and songs that express a myriad of responses to the human condition. Psalm 22 is one of the best. Part of it is famous because Jesus is quoting part of it on the cross. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

The psalm ends on a note of hope and anticipation of God's intervention and ultimate victory. A common perspective of Biblical interpretation says that the writer in the New Testament quoting a passage from the Old Testament, expects his readers to know the whole passage, the context larger than simply the verse mentioned. Possibly Jesus knew, even while he was on the cross, that his demise was not the final chapter.

And maybe getting hit by the turkey isn't the last chapter for us either. May you find comfort in the midst of mourning and peace in the midst of life's turkeys.

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