You can learn a lot while shovelling manure…
The horses had almost finished their round bale of hay and in order to tide them over until the next one (and to stop them becoming too “hangry”) I had put out some extra hay. I noticed a bit of activity so downed my tools to watch what was going on. Steve, our big bay horse, was telling Banjo, our youngest horse, to wait his turn. Banjo, after a couple of reminders, obliged and, after a suitable waiting period was eventually allowed to join in the hay party.
At first glance, it seems cruel. Yet this is exactly the lesson Banjo needs to learn. Herds work best when everyone knows and accepts their place. Herds work best when everyone goes when the leader says go and stops and when the leader says to stop. Within a herd, “no” or “not yet”are not negative concepts, but instead are vital for survival.
We live in a world that seems to believe that if I disagree with you or say no to you that somehow I don’t love you. Worse still, if we say no, we are labelled as being small minded or bigoted or racist or sexist or … (insert whatever label you want here). Where on earth have we gotten the idea that to be loving is to let others do whatever they want regardless of the consequences? Like spoilt little children, we stamp our feet and cry “poor me” if someone suggests that what we want to do mightn’t be the best course of action.
Maybe it’s time to relook at what the word “love” means? Does the most loving thing always like “nice”? When we say “but love is love” what are we really saying? Just because I don’t agree with you or say “no” to your idea or request doesn’t mean I no longer love you. Perhaps, we could learn something from Steve and Banjo?
Now, if you excuse me, I have some more shovelling to do…
“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate” (1 Corinthians 13:1)