Raymond Dix: We are all pigs at heart, but we don’t have to act like one
April 29, 2011 11:50AM
Updated: April 30, 2011 10:30PM
Not too long ago, while taking a long drive to a destination to be named later, I began serious reflection regarding my life and the general welfare of our nation.
As often happens during these intensely private moments of deep spiritual reflection, I begin to channel thoughts from deposits made by my deceased relatives at various times while they were with me. In this case, my thoughts turned to something my paternal grandmother said to me when I was a very young boy. She said, “Son, you can put a pig in a tuxedo, but he will still jump in the first mud puddle he sees.”
This bit of geriatric wisdom no doubt emanated from either her personal experience or the fact that she received a similar deposit from someone in her life. The source of this statement did not concern me as much as to whether it was really true.
As I look back over my younger years I realize that in many ways I proved my grandmother correct, for I have leapt into my share of mud puddles, tuxedo and all. No doubt at some very inopportune times in my life, I channeled my “inner pig” and found myself wallowing in a mess I created.
Now before we come down too hard on pigs, let me say that a pig is a very useful animal, all things considered. Sure, pigs are filthy, dirty, and smelly; but they are also tasty, especially when barbecued. In essence, a pig is a dichotomy; not pleasant to experience but yet with something to offer, even if it costs a life.
I asked myself about my grandmother’s tale of “pigdom” and determined that I would figure out just who she was talking about. After using my instant replay called memory, it did not take long to ascertain that the “pig” in the story was me.
You see, my grandmother astutely determined that despite my best efforts to channel an image of innocence concerning my life activity, I was in effect dressing up my pig nature. In fact, she was not really cynical about human nature; she was being what she believed to be realistic. She saw in me and all humanity the propensity to desire the mud when the opportunity presented itself.
After many years, I can admit that my grandmother had a pretty good take on my life and likely human nature in general. As much as we may not care to admit it, many of us have pig stories we could share, and even some we hope nobody ever knows.
Remember the time when you saw the mud and jumped in with both feet? Sure, you knew the mud would sully you, possibly allowing people to see your dirt, but you jumped in anyway. Mud has a strange power over the pig; it provides a cool covering on a hot day and comfort for the frolicking need of the pig. The problem is that the attraction of the mud is stronger than the pig’s desire to dress up.
As I pondered this reality, given that I was surely the pig in my grandmother’s analogy, I wondered how in the world I could stop myself from jumping into mud, even when my wearing a “dressed up demeanor” did not prevent my leap. How can you prevent someone from doing something so natural?
It occurred to me after much thought and meditation that the only way to keep the pig from yielding to the power of the mud was to convince him he wasn’t a pig. If he believes he is a pig, then he will do what pigs do; however, if by some means transformation of mind and heart takes place, and he believes he is to wear the tuxedo proudly, keeping it and himself clean, then he would ignore the mud as a place of refuge.
Then it occurred to me, even though I would still look like a pig and occasionally give an oink here or there, it was the power of God that convinced me not to live as a pig. I learned the real lesson of transformation: to believe that your life does not have to rely on yielding to a nature that leads to a destructive path, but to place full confidence in that spite of all appearances, you can successfully navigate life dressed in your tuxedo and keep it clean by the power of God in you.
This is my lesson for this season of celebrating the risen Savior Jesus Christ. The fact that he died so that we can avoid jumping into every mud puddle we see, and He was willing to talk to me, even though I was a pig.
Remember when I said that the pig’s value cost a life? In the case of humanity, God spared our lives and accepted the life of His own Son that we might jump over the mud in life. So the next time you oink loud, think about how you were able to get out of the mud.
Have a blessed Easter season.