Like sheep’s wool, our lives (habits, personalities, choices) reflect where we have been. When I sheared Gracie for the first time, (and many more since) I found “souvenirs” in hung in her wool that gave evidence of how she had been living her life, where she had been, and something about her troubles and circumstances.
The whole corn kernels buried in her wool told be what she had been eating. The seeds and flowers told me something about where she had been, as did the color of the dirt in her wool (red, like in the parishes north of where I live). The overgrown, matted nature of her wool, the extra amount of poop in it, and her weak, emaciated body under it spoke to me of the neglect of care she had suffered.
I saw myself in Gracie because I knew that like her wool, my own life (words, actions, attitudes, choices) was reflecting the circumstances of where I had been, and testified to the un-met personal needs in my life. Yes, in many ways I did enjoy good circumstances at the time; but in a large number of very painful ways, there were nonetheless deep needs that no amount of prayer, nor patient waiting, nor anger, nor attempt on my part to reconcile or heal, had been able to resolve. I knew God could, but I had waited so long to see His hand, I had long since become unsure He would. My words, attitudes, actions and prayers (and lack of) reflected the pain of personal circumstances I didn’t have an answer for, and that I couldn’t see God moving in. My fear and anger were like Gracie’s nasty, hot, heavy wool: a result of where I had been, and like her wool, it put me in great need of a Shepherd Who would relieve the burdens weighing me down.
Like Gracie, the “wool” of my life, what people saw on the outside, hid a lot of what was really going on underneath.
I believe Jesus compared us to sheep partly because:
Like sheep, people hide their real problems. You may can tell from looking at their lives they need help when they are really hurting, but even then, the whole truth of what they have really lived thru is never obvious until the wool comes off, no longer hiding the true depth of their need.
Like sheep, we need the continual renewal of our Shepherd.