Tag Archives: alone

Blessed Be the Tie That Binds

He arrived one morning in a cat carrier, the last duck at  my son’s farm. His destiny was the chopping block if I did not adopt him. Why could I not make room for one more fowl?  I reasoned with myself. I had three white chickens and a little hen-house.  One more body would fit comfortably, and they could be a family.

Gently placing the carrier on the ground,my granddaughter Lillian suggested that since he had hung out with her chickens, he would feel right at home with my chickens. With trepidation, I opened the door to the carrier. Would he stay here on our little patch of Kansas, or would he go like a homing pigeon back down the gravel drive from whence he came?

Released from his cage and spotting my three white chickens, the newly acquired duck flapped his wings, lowered his head, and charged after them. I watched in amusement. Chickens had imprinted this duck, and for all he knew he was a chicken and those three were his kin. The chickens, however, looking over their shoulders, knew that this strange thing racing toward them was definitely NOT a chicken.

“Oh, help, oh help,” they squawked desperately running from this intruder for all their little legs could go. “Wait, wait!!!” quacked the duck running as fast as his short, webbed feet could go. And the chase was on.

It would take about a week before the duck would be considered an insider in this little band of fowls.

We all yearn to belong, to be insiders.  We overhear three friends enjoying each other’s company,  but we are outside the circle. Laughter floats from the yard next door while we sit on the deck, alone. We listen to someone’s plan for a day-trip, and our big plan is mowing the yard.  Two young women sit huddled together sharing their hearts with each other. Deep in our innermost being is the cry, “Oh, wait, oh wait. Let me be one of you. I want to hang out with you. I want to spend time with you; I want to be known, be loved . . . belong.

Unlike the duck and the chickens, we do  belong to the same species. We were created for intimacy, for friendship, for belonging.

We sing,  “Blest be the tie that binds/ our hearts in Christian love.” What is the tie that binds? Is it real? Is it enough? And if it is, then why do I feel lonely? Is it even possible to be satisfied with that “tie that binds?” Or am I wanting more?

No easy answer here. Or is there? Perhaps a better understanding of that “tie,” (The Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Teacher) is essential to finding an answer. When we correctly understand the miracle of an “Indwelling Spirit,” we will begin to grow in our feelings of belonging.  The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the very foundation of our “belonging.”  The rest, that connection with others, will be built upon this  foundation.

“Never alone”; “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”; “Christ lives in me.” (See the link for more assurances: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Indwelling-Of-The-Holy-Spirit).


No Pretension


Authenticity.  Reality.  I think that was what drew us to our farm.  Yes, it was badly run down. The farm had seen a lot of living.  It had been used to raise chickens and pigs, to grow crops, to supply milk, to allow a tiny family of three with little outside income to live comfortably for years.  The eighty-five year old farmer had told us when we noticed the huge stacks of firewood around the house, “In the winter I stay snug as a bug in a rug.” The tiny house had been a shelter, a place of love, heartache, joy, loss.  No pretense, no desire to impress, just living out life in a simple, authentic way.  We stepped into that history and attempted to continue the story.

On an instructor’s income, we had no money to spare.  Most of what was done was by family (the boys were in Jr. High; Sara was six), and wonderful, incredible young college students.  Sara and I fed the crew sandwiches, chili, and hot chocolate in those cold months; and in the summer lots of lemonade, ice cream, pie, and more sandwiches. We worked evenings and weekends. We cleaned out the top of the barn that had been filled to the very ceiling with hay bales..  Slowly, those who had bought the hay at auction had come to claim their hay. What was left after the bales had been claimed was mounds of loose hay full of mementos: old horse harnesses, buckets, mice, snakes, etc.. Meanwhile, Kansas State University’s InterVarsity had used what bales were there as seating for their “barn party.” Hundreds of students were to pass through that old and unadorned barn in the future.

The crew tore down sheds that were too decrepit to restore, cut brush, created paths and gates, built steps with large rocks from the pasture.  The process of reclaiming and refocusing the use of the farm was a team-building experience because we did it together, in a simple and unpretentious way.

The open and natural expanse of land also beckoned my soul.  As I walked in the pastures and through the forests, I sensed the presence of the God who knew my innermost being, the One with whom I had no need of pretension.  He knew me better than I knew myself.  Up on the top pasture or down in the woods I was free to be myself … to sing, walk, pray, worship,  knowing I was loved and at home in His presence.  I had been on a journey for years learning to be open and  not self-conscious around others;  but alone with God as my companion, I had always been totally at home.                                      (to be continued)