One can learn a lot from a donkey.
My experiences with donkeys are limited. I once wanted to introduce my daughters to a neighbor donkey, so I seated their small bodies in the double stroller and set off down a biking trail. I smiled along the walk anticipating their excitement over seeing a donkey up close in its natural habitat—a farm pasture.
We tromped down through the long grass and came up to the fence. My eldest greeted the equine with a fist full of grass, reaching out to pat the animal. My youngest studied the critter from the safety of my arms.
As I was educating the girls about all I knew about donkeys—not much—the donkey screeched, “HEE!” That’s all. I laughed and said how odd that was since donkeys were supposed to say, “hee haw”. The girls didn’t mind as they admired the creature so like a horse, yet not a horse. Meanwhile the donkey was sucking in its breath in such a fashion that we were unaware of the great bellowing, “HAW” that was about to blast us. At close range, it was so startling that I swear my heart must have faltered before the instinct to flee kicked in.
We scrambled back to the path and waited for a complete “hee haw” from the safety of the trail, but none ever came. We continued on our walk, puzzling about the donkey.
A stray donkey changes a life
So recently when a friend gifted me a copy of Flash by Rachel Anne Ridge, I wondered what I might learn. Not far into the book, I laughed at this donkey that had materialized in Ridge’s driveway one night and planted himself in a firm place in her home and heart. But soon I needed a box of tissues. Back and forth I went as the pages turned, and I became infatuated with a donkey.
Flash turned out to be a God-sent blessing to the Ridges. Rachel Anne Ridge shares eleven lessons that Flash taught her. Her observations struck a relatable chord in my heart.
Have you ever questioned your value and wondered who sees you or if what you do matters? You’ll discover the importance of your name.
Have you wrestled with what Ridge called the “significance factor” or wanting to belong? Perhaps you are longing for a refuge that is right in front of you like Flash did during an arctic blast.
Have you ever let a fear keep you from moving forward? Well, Flash has a lesson about being the unique creation God created you to be. “There’s a greatness inside you, looking for a chance to burst into life and kick up some dust.”
Do you wonder what your purpose is? Flash says to find your passion!
More faith lessons from a donkey
I was encouraged when she described faith as a lifestyle and noted that God shows up each day when we are “fully present in whatever situations we find ourselves”. Sometimes when a person falls into the pits of wondering if we’re living the life we’re supposed to be living, discouragement sets in. We see the predictable routine and feel stuck. We fear we’ve missed it—whatever it is. Ridge encourages us to keep the faith. “It all happens in such incremental moments, as you work out your life into some kind of reflection of Him in your everyday world. You’re making trails, even when you don’t know quite where you are heading.”
We need to hear that. Keep the faith.
Ridge encourages us to be vulnerable, to be authentic, to be grateful, and to serve others. I love that she says we are defined by what we give, not be what we have.
The chapters about life’s changes and missing the last time moments struck close to my heart. God works in mysterious ways. Maybe we miss opportunities because we see them as interruptions or annoyances.
I hope you’ll find a copy to read and discover the nuggets of wisdom tucked in its pages. May each of us be less distracted and more focused on the present! Life is short. We miss so much by being preoccupied.
We don’t need to go searching for our own donkey to teach us lessons. Ridge has captured some profound ones, wrapped beautifully in her book.