Going back through some blog posts this morning, I think I see a pattern developing over the past few days. My blogs have been decidedly dark in both nature and expression. Maybe it is due to some things I have been going through in my personal life that I can’t seem to be able to get a grip on. It appears as though I have lost my mojo at handling issues that would not have been a problem for me in years past. In a nutshell, I have become an angry old man, a curmudgeon, way ahead of my time – the horror! I’d call my shrink but I don’t have one.

I‘m sitting here watching Tink drink her morning cup of coffee, which in itself is a strange enough way to start the day to someone who doesn’t know me. Tinkerbelle is my six-year-old Jack Russell/Mini Daschund mixed dog. I don’t give her a whole cup, (PETA alert!) she only gets to lick the cup when I’m finished. But she loves the taste and I’m guessing it’s the sugar I leave behind in the bottom of the vessel. It is a morning ritual we share before I depart for work - I drink the coffee while she watches me, frantically licking her lips and whining, and then I hold the cup for her as she licks the sweet residue. Crazy dog.

I enjoy watching her tree-up squirrels during these cool, Fall evening as well. The limb rats are as big as she, and I think they have figured it out and are no longer afraid of her. They taunt her from the lower limbs; racing down toward her and then swiftly returning to their just-out-of-reach perches before she can close the deal. Tink used to chase them in anger, barking her distaste for all things squirrel as she hotly pursued them across the yard and up the tree. These days, with age and a little (a lot) of added weight, she merely whines her disapproval at their antics, and looks over at me as if I am supposed to do something – anything. I have a very strict policy against shooting yard squirrels, even if they are in season, so she is on her own.

You’d think she’d learn to live with them or at least ignore them. It would more than likely make things a little easier for her in the doggy realm, especially since the fear has left the equation on the part of her prey. She never learns, though. It is against her nature and all of the instincts she holds on dearest to as a canine. She must chase them, there appears to be no other option. I feel sorry for her and wish I could help her achieve freedom from those demons that harass her, if only in her mind.

Watching Tink these days hits a little too close to home for me, because I find myself doing the same things in my life. I’m taunted by many things that are simply beyond my control, and while I used to attack them head-on with all of the gusto I can manage; now I simply sit back and whine about it. That gets old to not only me, but others as well, I’m sure of it. I cannot change those things no more than Tink can change a squirrel gang’s propensity for searching our yard for fallen or misplaced acorns. It is what they do, and… it is what they do.

Sadly, in my own heart I should be far ahead of her, because I know the answer to achieving freedom from my own demons that badger me in my life. Those demons are sin, and their modus operandi is to find a way to cause me to become a servant to them. I’m human, and I inherited a bad ole sinful nature from my great-great (great great great) grandfather Adam. As a result, I have those demons to face at what appears to be (but is not limited to) each waking moment of every day of my life. Those demons have a dark desire to taunt me, to destroy me, but most of all - to enslave me.

Jesus said, “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” Those demons with their sometimes hidden, sometimes obvious agenda can far too often obtain their goal of conquering my heart and controlling my life, making me a servant of sin in the process. I know this, yet despite that knowledge things seldom change. I get angry. I get frustrated. I don’t perform the things G_d would have me perform. I get tempted. I fall. And all the while they run down the tree right in front of me, just out of reach, and they taunt me. They laugh and high-five each other every time I go astray and all they leave in their wake is my broken heart, whining for someone to do something about it and knowing that once again I have become a slave to my very own thoughts and actions. It’s a sad state to be in, I tell ya.

There is good news, however...

Jesus has already paid my sin debt. He already conquered those demons. Unlike me and Tink, He will step in and do something about those things in my life I can no longer control - if only I will ask Him to. Following the quote I mentioned above, Jesus went on to say, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Free from what? Free from being a servant to the sin that besets my heart at every corner and turn. A note worth mentioning here is that it is not a promise I will be perfect in my life. I still have gramp’s inheritance I mentioned earlier to fight and keep under control. But I am free from the penalty and ramification of sin, and that alone ‘takes care of ‘ those malicious things in the trees of my life. And though I may feel compelled, I am no longer forced to chase after them.

Free indeed.

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