A man in a disabled buggy was approaching me along the coastal path. A black dog walked beside him. He kept whistling instructions to the dog.
The whistling didn’t sound right… As he drew closer I saw a grey parrot on the front of his buggy whistling! I liked the idea of the parrot, not the man, whistling to instruct the dog.
I took Grandson Luca to school this morning. The whistle blows in the playground… We shall go to the football on Saturday. The referee will have his whistle…
Abigail Robson, in her autobiography ‘Secret Scars’, describes her battles with anorexia, self-harming, laxatives, food obsessions… obeying different whistles, patterns of behaviour that she couldn’t escape from.
Ron Dunn, in ‘When Heaven Is Silent’, says: ‘Our toughest battles are with God, not the devil…’ It’s the standard two whistle blowing scenario. The good whistle and the bad whistle, the good voice, the bad voice, the battle of conscience or temptation.
Dunn says: ‘I find it easier to say no to the devil than to say yes to God.’ He points to the Bible stories – Jacob wrestling with God, Job arguing with God, Jesus struggling with God in Gethsemane before his crucifixion…
After years of repeated failure Abigail Robson describes a letter she wrote to God: ‘Where are you? You promised you’d always be here. I’m looking everywhere and you’re nowhere to be found. I feel desolate, lost, without direction, completely alone…’
‘…I cannot do this alone. I need help , and I know that yours is the only help that will be any good. You are the only one I can reach out to…’
Whistled instructions? I listen… parrots, teachers, referees, the devil… seeking to discern God’s whistle. I share Ron and Abigail’s experience… having heard right whistle the next step isn’t easy.
But Jacob, Job and Jesus found that too, so I guess it’s OK.