Caged Beast

Once upon a time, they caught a wolf and her mate.  They put them in a cage.  For years, the wolf howled, begging for release.   She hated the zoo.   But her mate was content there, even happy.   And so, the wolf eventually stopped howling at the moon, and concentrated on creating a wonderful den within the confines of the zoo.  She and her mate had cubs, and they raised them to adolescence.

Sometimes the wolf would see the moon over the bars of her cage and she’d long to howl, but she’d turn her face away and continue to make her den as nice as she could.  She connected with good resources, and she and her cubs were well taken care of.  She told herself to be grateful – and most of the time, when the moon didn’t sing, she was.  She had all the food she needed, she was safe, she was warm.

But her mate started to grow thin and tired.  He was brought out to display every day.   He didn’t complain, but his fur started looking patchy, and he didn’t have the energy he once had.   The wolf, who had been taking excellent care of herself (having nothing else to do) grew worried.   She made the den as nice as she could, and ministered to him when he was home, but she had no power to lighten his load.   Even if she were to go on display, it was him the crowds wanted, not her.

One day, someone came by and rattled the door to their cage.  No, not the door that her mate was brought out through when on display, but the door that they’d been shoved through, once upon a time.  Someone looked in on them from that side… Someone who caused her to trust irrationally… and words were spoken that she could not understand.

Hope, long buried, raised its head, and the wolf threw her head back and howled with everything she had within her.   She instantly hung her head in shame.  Her heart’s desire added a burden onto her mate, already sickened by his daily parade.   But she could hear the words outside her cage… what were they saying?  She’d heard rumors that sometimes, animals were released back into the wild… would they do that for her family?

She started dreaming of fresh air and peace.  She remembered her mate, so happy as the alpha of their pack, and how he had thrived, directing the other wolves and caring for them.   She looked around at her beautiful den and she felt a pang – there was much here to be grateful for.  Shame came again… why should she want something else?

She paced.  And then the zookeeper came to her – the one whose words she’d heard outside her cage.  He sat with her and petted her, calming her fears.  She still didn’t understand what he was saying, but she grew to trust him.   He brought her treats, and comforted her.

Now she was filled with confusion – she trusted the zookeeper utterly, but at the same time she’d never been a tame wolf.  She knew he’d never hurt her, and had her best interests at heart… but she didn’t know what he might do, or when he might choose to do it.

Hope had stirred up trouble… trust gave her peace… and every day, the wolf grew to hope more, and to be more peaceful.   But would she ever find herself running free?

What will the zookeeper choose?


13 thoughts on “Caged Beast

  1. elspeth

    You, dear she-wolf woman, are absolutely amazing.

    More later (away from here), but thank you for articulating something very powerful even though I know it was meant to be personal.

  2. Robyn

    As usual Els, your timing is impeccable, thanks for directing me here. The wild waters of independence still trickle through me from time to time … it does not bring peace, “wretched female that I am” … (echoes of Paul).

    Hearth! beautiful; it really spoke to me and I accept the chastening from the Lord that you probably didn’t even know you’d be used in! xo

    1. hearthie Post author

      Always glad to help… I think it’s cool when God does that. And no, it wasn’t meant 1) to speak of anyone else or 2) to be chastening in the least. I’m glad you enjoyed. 🙂

      1. Robyn

        I wonder if, when God uses you in someone else’s life, do you still get the credit points in heaven, even though it wasn’t your intention. I’m thinking yes; yay hearthie!!

      2. hearthie Post author

        I think you do if you did it in obedience. We ALL have the opportunity to bless others, well-nigh every day… if we just obey.

  3. Elspeth

    I saw this from two angles and the first is absolutely the angle of the untamed wolf (Eve’s daughter with her desires which always just hover, waiting to be fulfilled).

    The second was a she-wolf who genuinely and utterly loves, appreciates, and *gets* the cost her pack leader wolf pays to give her a comfortable den, and how it sometimes weighs on him. She loves him, longs to relieve his burden but doesn’t know how.

    She is the polar opposite of the mate who is so consumed with her own desires and longings and what he is or isn’t doing which keeps her from them. She’s looking at how she can provide solace for him while waiting for the Keeper to provide what only He can provide to satisfy and heal them both.

    I think this one resonates with some wives because we can see something of ourselves in the she-wolf.

    CYE in 30.

    1. Robyn

      I think I’m mostly (or have learned how to be) the second one. Although, I sometimes cross-over, sadly, not to ‘career’ outside the home, because I do find providing respite to be VERY fulfilling. But there are thread-like desires that skim through my heart …. more in wondering if I could do both; maybe, “do more” – “help more” are better words.

      I know the answer is no. But if I’m honest, I still have to lay those thoughts down, infrequently.

      1. hearthie Post author

        Well, seasons are. Desires of husbands are. I’m winding up my season of being a SAHM only this summer. That’s exactly what my husband wants, unless God moves. It won’t help that much – I’ve been out of the job market for the best part of two decades – but I can do what he wants me to do.

        But insofar as going after what *I* perceive to be the best? I’m a grabby little brat, all of us know that – I am ALWAYS grabbing for something. It’s definitely a failing of mine. I like to be doing. Waiting is HARD. Hard hard hard hard. I stay as distracted as possible, that helps.

      2. Robyn

        You’re a good wife hearthie. I am, at this very moment in my life, entering into a season of waiting. OK, it SEEMS like waiting but it’s really more like rest and recuperation … so yes, even though we wait for different reasons and in different seasons …. waiting is ALWAYS hard. I think it goes to being female; too much ‘nike’ in most of us … “Just Do It”

      3. hearthie Post author

        Ah yes. I am mentoring someone in that situation. It’s not easy, and I don’t know anyone who takes that pill with pleasure.

  4. Elspeth

    Still chewing on this. I considered about whether or not to comment further here, but what I am thinking might be instructive so I’ll say a little.

    Your thoughts about the wolf and her mate pre “captivity” brought up memories of conversations and dreams we used to share during our unencumbered years, before cubs and den building, and him being put on display as the cost of caring for his family. Dreams that were quickly pushed into the recesses as the tethers and encumbrances increased.

    It is to the he-wolves’ credit that they are able to be content, “happy even”, when the realities and limitations of life come to toss cold water on youthful fire. It is to the she-wolves’ credit that she can both resist the urge to howl and keep the dream tucked away. for if and when the Zookeeper decides to unleash them into the wild to pursue the dream.

    The delicate balance of it all can only be found in love, commitment, prayer, and WAITING.


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