This is the second of a three-part series. Read part one here.
He’s a handsome fellow, isn’t he? Yes indeed, Beeri sure is fine, but he’s more than just another pretty (or scary, if you’re under five years old) face. Mr. Beeri Goat is a walking miracle of the “Amazing Grace” variety: he once was lost, but now he’s found, and it was by divine intervention.
Beeri is not only a fine-looking fellow, he’s also a very valuable treasure, much like spun gold, and gets to choose his own accommodations sometimes. Okay, so maybe he’s a bit spoiled. The evening before Beeri vanished, the goats had started behaving very strangely at twilight. This caused my sister to feel nervous. When Beeri picked his favourite sleeping stall at put-up time, she was deeply relieved. This didn’t last long as we found him sitting by himself in the dark a few hours later, almost as if he was afraid and trying to stay as near to the humans as possible. My sister still felt jittery, but she put him back in the stall he had abandoned and admonished him to stay put until morning. Beeri seemed very sad for some reason, but it had been a long day, so she brushed her nervousness aside and locked him in for the night.
The night was unusually dark and the place had an eerie stillness to it. This was remarkable because we live on an island and the neighbours usually play music and party until the wee hours of the morning. The whole world seemed to have locked itself indoors that night. I’m a light sleeper and tend to get up many times during the night to check on things. I even picked the room closest to the animals’ quarters so I could listen for disturbances and strange sounds at night and I keep an emergency flashlight next to my bed for quick dashes outside to rescue animals in difficulties. That night, I slept like a log. It’s almost as if I had been drugged.
On that chilly February morning, my sister got up before dawn like she normally does and went to check on the goats. Nothing seemed out of place at first glance, but she soon realized that Beeri was missing from his stall, whose door had been removed and set aside. She ran into the house and dragged me out of bed.
“Come quickly,” she urged. “Beeri has run away.”
I was puzzled at that, but I got dressed and walked for miles looking for that goat. After about an hour, I realized that something was wrong with this “run away” story. I looked at my sister sternly.
“What state was the stall in when you checked?” I asked her.
She thought for a moment and the panic drained out of her. I saw a dawning horror on her face.
“Beeri’s been stolen!” I shouted so loudly that my voice echoed back off the mountains in the distance.
We hurried back home and brainstormed up a game plan. We briefed my father and sent him off to the police station to report the kidnapping (so that’s what kidnapping means!). Time was of the essence and we couldn’t just wait for the police to take their time to investigate. Beeri was of great value alive, but we feared it might behoove the kidnappers to kill him quickly and sell him on the meat market as he pretty much qualified as a local celebrity. They couldn’t trade him alive except to a private collector with a very large and secure backyard.
We discussed quite a few recent happenings involving Beeri and came up with a list of potential suspects and likely locations for stashing a stolen goat. Then we hit the streets, HARD.
Just then, the heavens opened up and torrents started to pour down. You couldn’t see your hand in front of your face for the force of the water.
“Give it up!” the people I was interrogating jeered. “He’s already dead! Give it up and go home!”
“In the name of JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH!” I screamed at the top of my lungs as I stood there in the midst of that sudden storm with rain water running down my cheeks and my eyes bright red from the sting of the products being washed out of my hair. “NOBODY is going to eat our labour! That goat is coming home alive!”
I must have been quite a sight, for nobody laughed. In fact, the jeerers went quiet and looked like they had been struck by some of the abundant lightning.
We said nothing more. We set our faces like flint, got in the car and went home.
“He’s coming back,” my sister said in a voice that was just above a whisper.
“I saw him,” she continued. “Last night in a dream.”
I shot her a quizzical look and she told me her dream.
“I dreamt he was running and very afraid,” she said. “I was running after him, trying to catch up with him, but I couldn’t. He ran and he ran, but I knew he would come home.”
We sat in silence on the verandah, watching large streams of rain pound the earth. We held on to hope and we kept our eyes on the eastern sky. I was praying and I knew she was praying too.
The rain stopped just as suddenly as it had started. Then, I heard a sound. It was a sound of triumph. I heard screaming and shouting and cheering. People ran out of their homes and cars and lined both sides of the street, cheering as they ran.
I got up and ran from the verandah to see what all the fuss was about.
“He’s coming! The ram goat is coming!” I heard a man shout.
“What ram goat?” I wondered for a second before I realized which goat it was. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I watched for any sign of movement coming up that little road. I saw nothing but people cheering and shouting.
Then I saw him in the distance. He was running with an uneven gait. I was terrified that the kidnappers had injured him, but as he ran and came into view I saw a rope around his neck that seemed to be tied to something. As he barged through the gates I could see that that something was a stalk of sugar cane. The kidnappers had tied him to sugarcane in the fields miles away from the house.
He ran right on to the verandah, flopped down on the sofa next to me and shivered and trembled like he was having ague. The poor thing was in shock. The poor thing was alive. The poor thing, who had no hands, had been cut from the sugar cane somehow. The poor thing had just made his way home through miles of featureless sugarcane fields and a twisting maze of bland dirt roads with no navigational aid.
Beeri had been rescued and returned by an angel.
“Praise the LORD!” I shouted in the streets.
“Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord!” I screamed. “You have all witnessed the mighty work of the Lord today, for how else could such a thing be?” I asked.
The cheering stopped and everybody went home. Witnessing an inexplicable miracle first-hand apparently clears a room.
The police were happy to take this incident off their case load and we were happy to have Beeri home. The LORD himself is in charge of this case and I’m looking forward to the day when the kidnappers and whomever hired them receive their reward, for there is justice in the land.
As for Beeri, he once was lost, but now is miraculously found. May God grant him many more years of good health and no more scares.