The Sabbath Fawn

(I wrote this a couple of years ago, and thought I’d posted it, but it was in the “drafts” folder.)


“Come away, my lover, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the spice-laden mountains.”

My parents live in a 40-year-old subdivision on what used to be the edge of Austin.


Despite the traffic and sprawl, deer still roam freely through their front yard and the creek bed that cuts behind it. My mother recently emailed that a newly-born fawn had been left overnight, right in the center of their lawn.


I wish you could see the pictures. The fawn is curled into a ball, just a few steps from the front door. The grass is thick, but not tall enough to cover the baby deer. No trees provide shade or shelter. As my father took a series of photos, the fawn’s ears perked up. The rest of its body remained motionless


My father says that a fawn will instinctively stay till until its mother returns. It trusts. It rests. It waits.


What if the fawn had moved? It might have been struck by a car driven by a reckless teenager. It might have starved as it looked for food. At the very least, it might have been lost to its mother forever. It would probably have died.


Instead, the fawn waited almost six hours. The sun warmed the world. The wind whipped through the trees. The grass grew imperceptibly taller. And finally, the mother returned. The fawn followed eagerly out of my parents yard and into the creek bed behind their house.


The closest I come to the trust this fawn displayed is on Sabbath. It takes faith to stop. Will the world get along without me? Will the world want me back.


Unlike the fawn, I move more than my ears. I get up and walk around the yard, but there is a boundary across which I do not stray. I want my Lord to find me.


My mother said that since the fawn lay so still for so long, the grass retained an indentation of its presence. I hope my Sabbaths leave a permanent mark on my life. I trust that my Lover will come, no matter how long I have to wait.


I pray I am forever dented.


“My love is like a gazelle, graceful; like a young stag, virile. Look at him there, on tiptoe at the gate, all ears, all eyes – ready! My lover has arrived, and he’s speaking to me.” Songs 2:9-10