“I give you a new commandment: Love one another. Such as my love has been for you, so must your love be for each other.” John 13:34
There is a legend of how hedgehogs survived one of the coldest winters. In this prickly tale, we find wisdom about how we need to care for each other.
The story begins when the earth grew the coldest it had ever been. A bone chilling winter came, and stayed much longer than ever before. Everything was freezing. There was no warmth to be found. Rivers and streams froze up solid. There was little or no food to eat. Soon, it seemed, everything, especially the animals, would die.
The hedgehogs saw what was happening and, realizing the danger of their situation, decided that they should all stick together and keep each other warm with their own body heat. This worked well at first, but it quickly became a very bristly situation as their quills jabbed each other. Quarreling and bitterness soon followed. They began to fight among themselves for a better position. No one wanted to compromise their own spot or move over for the benefit of the other.
After a short time, they decided the only solution to all this fighting was to separate themselves from each other. But winter lingered. It grew even colder, and soon some hedgehogs died from the lack of warmth. If nothing changed, they all would surely freeze to death.
The hedgehogs wisely concluded that if they were going to survive this deadly cold they would have to come together and learn to get along despite their various quirks and nettlesome ways. They needed the warmth from each other to be able to survive. They needed to care for each other. There would always be differences when they could get a little spiky about one thing or another, but if they could all compromise a little for the benefits that came from a close relationship, they would all survive. They did this and, legend has it, this is why we still have hedgehogs today.
Maybe we need to remember the hedgehog the next time we are in a fractious friendship or irritable relationship. The best relationships are not made up of perfect people. They are made when we learn to compromise, and we each learn to live with the imperfections of others.
It’s all part of loving others as Jesus loves us – prickly parts and all.
Watering the Seeds
What are your “prickly parts” that you’d like to work on?
How do you deal with those “prickly parts” of others?