What I’m about to tell you is something I’ve been made fun of by most people in our family. You can laugh too. I have, and I do. Once upon a time I was at the family bay house enjoying fun and sun and mud with the fam. One morning I decided to take a jog. This is a good idea for anyone there. People make cakes all the time down there. And I think salt water makes you hungry all the time.
I started running until I came to a cattle guard, and I gingerly hopped over. The longhorn cattle were all bunched up together in the first pasture, and I was deep in prayer and thoughts as I was running. Suddenly I heard some stomping/running type noise, and I glanced around. To my horror, I saw the whole herd and yes even the babies running after me. They had a pretty good pace too. I was impressed. I was also afraid. I sped up and they did too. I ran to a fence pole, and I climbed up on top. They stopped all around me. They stared at me. My chest was pumping. “What do you want???” I yelled at them. I’ve never been afraid of cows. This was a first for me. I tried to be rational. It wasn’t working.
I sat there on my pole while they watched me silently. I thought how everyone will laugh when I tell them this. I wondered if I might be trampled before that. I was on that pole for awhile considering my options. The cows waited intently, never taking their gaze from me. Then, I looked down and saw that there was a gate I could close and keep them in that first pasture all from my pole! I started to move, and their staring eyes followed my every move. It’s not like I’m wearing red, I thought. (I told you I wasn’t been rational.)
I got the gate closed, and I hopped down on the other side. “Ha! You can’t get me now!!!” I said, triumphantly. I ran to the end of the road, and then I turned around. I wondered if they would be waiting for me. My heart started pumping as I got closer to the gate I had closed. They had spread out again, and as I opened the gate I promise you that not one cow looked at me.
Feeling cautious, I decided to nonchalantly walk through them instead of jog. My flight from danger had probably burned a lot of calories anyways. They didn’t pay any attention to me. Maybe they were disgusted by my fear. Halfway there, I sprinted back. I was finished with those cows for the day no matter what they thought.
I told my story to our family, and I got a few pats on the back. Most people laughed (I was laughing too) and some doubted my story. The consensus was they thought I had food for them. My husband’s grandmother told me I should have turned around and shooed them away. This didn’t make me feel smart.
I was reflecting on this occurrence in my life this morning as I was getting ready for church. I still go running at the bay. Those cows can’t keep me down. But, I have to admit to you that my heart pumps a little faster when I pass them. They have never chased me again. I guess I looked like I was packing food that day. I guess I didn’t need to run after all.
I sometimes feel like I run from cows in life and in faith…sparked by fear/instinct I run. I climb a pole for safety from nothing. I see a situation that I cannot explain away, and I settle for dull instead of engaged. Perhaps I run from God’s love. It’s too intimate and engaging for us. We tend to just crucify that kind of love. I run from myself too. Does anyone ever really want to look in the interior mirror? Most days I probably just live for myself, my comfort, my family fun. That’s running too, right? What are your cows? Depression? Debt? Lack of faith in God? Sloth? Pain? Expectations of people to fulfill you in some way? Perfect Love? What is chasing you today?
How do we face the cows? Here’s the advice my loving family gave me. I think it’s good stuff, and I think most of it is in the Bible.
1. Quit your whining.
2. Get your shoes on and get back out there.
3. You can’t miss the view…it’s always worth the risk.
4. Go with a friend.
5. When in doubt, turn around and shoo them. This might involve yelling and waving of your arms. You can say, “Git!”
” It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:13-15 (NIV)