I admit it. I love a good ass. If you are going to stick around and read more of this article, then I need you to switch off the way that word is currently used in society and think literal. As in, the scientific name for ass: Equus Asinus. A donkey.
I’ve been obsessed with donkeys for several years now. I can’t quite figure out my fascination of them. The fuzzy ears and droopy eyes reach out and grab hold of my heart as if to say, “We were meant to be together…”. What can I say? They make me swoon. (Yes, I know, I’m weird.)
That is why this morning, my eyes perked up with curiosity when I came across an article with the title: “Feral desert donkeys are digging wells, giving water to parched wildlife”.
The second I read those words I knew I’d connect with it in more than just a mere scientific phenomenon. Jesus is well aware of my love for anything ass-related, and I had just finished spending some time in the Word with Him. Oh yeah, this was gonna be good!
Let me recap the article for you.
In the heart of the world’s deserts-some of the most expansive areas of wild places left on planet earth- roam herds of wild donkeys. These wild animals are descendants of the now-bygone days of labor force from much earlier times.
Typically, when a new species is introduced to an ecosystem through man’s ignorance, there are grieving consequences that conservationist’s work hard to undo. The fight to regain balance in the ecosystem offers job security and great frustration.
In the desert, the ass is an exception to the rules.
Stay with me, now. This is where it gets good!
While normally these wild animals are generally considered a threat to the natural environment, in the desert they have proven that to not be the case. In fact, researchers are finding something quite amazing that has long been overlooked. Wild donkeys dig wells in the desert. Literally, they dig “ass holes”.
Why is this a good thing? Because the holes they dig offer water availability from desert streams. Not just a little bit. Dramatically. These “ass holes” were found to be the only source of water during the warmest times of the year. Fifty-seven other species, such as birds, deer, and even mountain lions, also benefitted from these “ass holes”. It is safe to say that perhaps, some of these ass-holes, were life-saving.
But that’s not all. Once the wells dried up, some of them became nurseries for the germination and establishment of wetland trees. With deserts predicted to spread, these wild asses may provide the unexpected gift of life in drying lands.
These animals, once thought of as “useless”, are now proving to be beneficial to their ecosystem’s survival.
Despite these ecological benefits in desert environments, the wild ass has long been denied the care, curiosity and respect native species deservedly receive. Instead, these animals are actually targeted by culling programs for conservation and the meat industry.
Thankfully, there are signs of change. New fields such as compassionate conservation and multispecies justice are expanding conservation’s moral world and challenging the idea that only native species matter.
Enter you. I don’t think it takes much thought to see the analogy we get from being an ass. Dear betrayed, I proudly admit, I’m an ass. And when I dug IN to my hurt and pain, the word “ass-hole” definitely rings true. I didn’t want to face it. I’d rather deny it, minimize it, or rationalize it, but had I done so, I would have never found the LIVING WATER. That same water is there for you, too.
The digging is effort, I know. Some holes must reach deeper than others to find the source, but if you keep at it, you’ll soon find your soul to be quenched. The hard work of recovery does reap a reward. That dry, empty place you find yourself in now is only temporary. Your Living Water is waiting for you. And that nice, gentle breeze you feel? That is the Holy Spirit helping you do what seems to be impossible.
Did you catch the part about donkey’s being targeted? How they have been denied the care, curiosity and respect that they readily deserve? I have definitely experienced that. Have you? Have well-intended people labeled you as being the problem? I don’t know why or how this has happened, but the very people who were meant to protect you have done more harm to your hurting heart. That has put you in survival mode in your season of drought. But guess what?
What man intended for evil-both consciously and subconsiously-God intends for your good. He can take those well-intended but extremely hurtful and maybe even abusive comments and give you just the push you need to dig down to the Water. A smart ass knows how to turn dry ground into purpose.
And guess what else?
You’re not the only ass out there in the desert.
There is an entire community of us, and the more ass-holes we dig, the more we will not only provide healing for ourselves, but healing for others coming after us as well. And when there are an entire herd of us finding our voice and our purpose, those who once saw us as the target may start to finally take notice. I believe change is possible. Thank God for the “compassionate conservationists” already in the desert of betrayal trauma who are challenging the current belief system in society that donkeys are the problem. Because the truth of the matter?
The ass is a huge part of the solution.
What’s more good news? Some of us are married to a jackass. I’m one of them and I’m so glad. Because he’s in the desert with me, digging his own ass-holes, he’s allowing germination of wetland trees that on those really hot days offer me some shade from the harsh elements. He’s both digging beside me and offering support. What a huge blessing.
So, the next time someone calls you an “Ass”, simply smile and say, “Thank you!”, because you just got reminded of how much the Living Water loves you and provides for your needs, even in the desert.
I love your ass-ness. Now let’s go kick some.
For more information on how to dig ass-holes, check out my book RISE: A Guide To Climbing Out of Betrayal Trauma by Misty Terrell. Click HERE to order.