Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lean On Me

I watched my shadow slinking across the dirt road as only the
 stars and a few of the gentle giants looked my way.

My bare feet squeaked in my Muck boots and I gripped tightly onto my flashlight.

On this beautifully quiet Sunday night, my mind was still swirling
 with thoughts from the week before and the week to come. 

This had been a particularly long week.

I wasn't quite able to reach that goal I had set.

And a time or two I felt very small.

Sometimes the gate I needed through was shut.

And I left the wrong one open.

That one thing was so big I couldn't see past it.

While I had almost missed another right before my eyes.

Then just out of the blue, on a sunny Sunday afternoon I saw this.

Check out the cow on the right

While waiting to be milked, this sweet girl had gotten tired.
But she didn't just lie down.
She didn't push through the line so she could have an earlier turn.
She patiently waited, leaning on her steadfast friend.

And it struck me standing there in the parlor.
It's not about what makes the weeks long or the days hard.
It's about who we have walking with us.

"Lean on me, when you're not strong,

I'll be your friend, I'll help you carry on.

For it won't be long,
 'til I'm gonna need, 
Somebody to lean on."

And as I walked under the stars that Sunday night I kept singing

"Lean on me, when you're not strong..."

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Running the Race

 I was tense. The morning chores had taken longer than I wanted and now it was already noon.  Now that planting season was in full gear, I was on lunch duty for my hardworking husband who works through lunch and dinner most days just to get the crop in the ground before it rains.

Lunch break

I had already decided it was fast food day.  Is it bad that the thought of food that comes pre-wrapped and handed to me from a window makes me happy?

I trudged to the car, the heat of the day beginning to wear me down.

I was annoyed when I remembered I still needed to check on the heifer that was calving. I just wanted to rest.

When I arrived, I saw just the end of two little feet. I knew right away that things should have progressed further by now. I watched for a bit as the new mama got up and down, unable to figure out what she should do.

My tension increased a level when I realized no one was around to help me pull the calf.

I crept down to the ground and began inching towards her. I was going to just see if I could grab the little feet and gently tug.

With about 5 feet to go, the mama jumped up and walked away.

Hmmm. I sat there in the barn and pondered the options for a moment.

Thankfully she laid back down and again I slowly crawled towards her. This time on my hands and knees so that she wouldn't be startled. Moving at the pace of a turtle also seemed to help.

After only one more attempt to run away from me, she finally let me close enough to get a hold of the calf’s feet.

I quickly realized the gentle tug was not going to be enough to help mama or baby. I went to get the chains and handles.

(For those of you unfamiliar with delivering a calf, calves are born front feet first. Small chains are often used to assist in getting a better grip around the calf’s feet, but farmers are very careful not to apply too much pressure so that it doesn't harm the calf. Without assisting in this way there is a risk the calf will die.)

I began to worry that time was running short.

I gently wrapped the chains around the little feet and pulled.

I pulled harder.

I thought back to a few weeks ago when we had joined a gym and I had set goals for how strong I hoped to become.

How much weight I could lift had only mattered to me then, but now there was a little life depending on it.

How greatly I hoped not to fail.

A little nose emerged that had turned purple.

My arms were burning as I continued to fight for whoever those tiny feet belonged to.

Before long a little bull calf lay in front of me gasping for his first breaths.

Relief flooded my body and my arms and legs felt like Jell-O.

All that fighting for a life had saved it.
All that running I had been doing meant something to somebody.
All that climbing and struggling and grasping will be worth it.

As I sat there watching the mama take care of her wiggly new calf, I thought about all those people I had watched fight their own battles.

How some are smiling even when they have a million reasons not to.

How some have the courage stop and tell you that beautiful sight had made all the difference, saved their very life.

How some have a quiet determination to keep going, keep fighting, keep straining forward to what lies ahead.

I stand up and dust off my pants.

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” 
Philippians 3:14 

There is work to do, a race set before us, and a life to be lived.
May we all have enough strength to make it to the finish line.

A little while later with his mama

And making new friends

Hello everybody!

Here's a few more snapshots from along the way: