07 February, 2014

The Keepers And I

A few have asked what I meant by the "Keepers" in my recent posts. See: Amen and Resurrection and 18 Days Later ... . What follows is the essence of something I wrote about a four years ago, although edited and updated. I think it clarifies my intent.

A shepherd is a person who tends to, feeds, or guards sheep - especially in flocks. The word may also refer to one who provides religious guidance.

Last year I used this word to refer to those who took care of me in the hospital two years ago. They tended to me, they fed me, and they guarded my very existence. A good friend questioned my usage because the term implied "leading." To me there was an obvious reference in that interpretation. "He leadeth me beside still waters" or "He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake."

That was, however, too literal for me. I interpreted the psalm as describing God's protection and care, perhaps guidance and care, and that is exactly what my Shepherds did for me.

Although my friend came to accept my usage, I decided to refer to those Shepherds as the Keepers. This term may also be filled with superfluous meaning, but it does avoid the religious connotation. Perhaps more importantly, it resonates with the importance I have given to lighthouses in my life's journey and the Keepers who maintain those lights.