Be Smart, Be Kind, Be Quiet
Quiet pastures, playful calves, and mamas looking for attention make taking care of our cows the best part of my day. Of course there are times they challenge every ounce of my patience, but all the time they make life better than it would be without them. They are smart and predictable, stubborn and curious, lazy and playful. They require so much work and planning, but still everyday feels worth it. Maybe God just made me to love cows. Maybe he knew my heart needed a non-traditional teacher for some very valuable lessons.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
My cows never fail to reinforce the lesson my great grandma used to preach, “If you don’t use your head, you’ll have to use your feet!" If you don’t close the gate, the cows will sneak out. If you don’t bring the right tools to fix the fence, you’ll have to go back to the shop and get them. And when it’s time to catch the cows, start with a bucket of feed. Coaxing them to come inside with a tasty treat has saved my feet from a lot of unnecessary chasing and pushing. Life works the same way. Challenging myself to learn the things I don’t understand, keeping a budget and saving money, and slowing down to think about what’s really important are all ways to save a lot of frustration and unnecessary effort down the road. Grandma was right. It is much easier to slow down and use my head, than to chase those darn cows or have to work longer to pay for things we don’t really need. Work smarter, not harder.
Give Respect, Get Respect
Earning a cow’s respect is a necessary thing. Weighing in at 1,000+ pounds, a nervous or poor-mannered cow could do a lot of damage to a person standing in their way. It’s so important for us to teach our cows to respect us, and we start by respecting them. Our cows know that we are the ones that feed, water, and care for them. When we catch them, we work quickly and quietly to accomplish what needs to be done to keep them in the best health possible. Our cows are very gentle, but we know the importance of reading their mood and giving them their space. Equally important, they know that we can be trusted and are to be respected. People are the same. Respect, trust, and understanding are some of the most precious things a person can receive... but to get them, we have to give them first. Relationships are built on a foundation of doing what’s right, doing the best we can, and showing others how much we care. Give first, then receive.
Quiet is Good
One of the most important things I have learned about working with cows is that extra noise is not required or appreciated. Simplicity and quiet calmness makes working with cows much easier and more enjoyable! I recognize this same need for quietness in my own life. Sadly, the fast news, endless social media, and growing to-do lists threatens to make peace and rest a thing of the past. When the world is trying to overwhelm, the things I long for most are green fields, warm sunshine, and the soft sighs of sleepy cows. We all need that place where God’s voice doesn’t have to compete with the noise, and our hearts can rest in the peace it brings. Quiet is so good.
Life can be absolutely fulfilling and exhausting in the same minute. Life with cows is exactly the same. I would never have expected such simple, content animals to so clearly demonstrate the valuable lessons of working smarter, giving first, and saving room for quietness in our lives. But I guess that’s the point... everyday I watch them, I remember that life doesn’t have to be so complicated. I am reminded to sit back and take a deep breath, and I know in my heart that life is good.
Wishing all peace and happiness,