My beloved cows. Well, not mine. They belong to my neighbor, my husband and I simply allow them to graze on our property. It saves me from mowing more land!
WRITER’S NOTE: This entry is a “Throwback Thursday” one. It was written a year ago but never published on Accidental Country Pastor. And so I wanted to share.
I am not sure why, but tonight as I stood in front of the old slate farm sink washing the dinner (and lunch and breakfast) dishes in my little Vermont home, I felt a twinge of sadness, the kind of sadness that comes with good byes. It was strange because the calendar tells me it is still early in the summer and so this twinge couldn’t be the back-to-school blues I get even though I am way beyond those back-to-school years.
The twinge was sharp. What was this about?
As my hands instinctively plunged into the warm sudsy water fishing for the next utensil to scrub, my eyes gazed out the window watching the neighbor’s cows graze on our hilly pasture. A slight wind blew the tall grass and the limbs of the apple tree hanging over the marshy part of the yard swayed.
The cows only looked up for a second to see what the rustling was about before becoming disinterested and returning to munching on their dinner, which featured an appetizing array of clover and wild strawberries that mysteriously appeared on our property this year. (Those birds have a way of planting little surprises, don’t they?)
That’s when I wondered. Did they ever feel such a twinge? Were they ever aware of something larger at work in their lives? Did they ever give the winds of change more than just a disinterested passing glance?
Perhaps I am guilty of paying too much attention to the winds blowing in my life that often bring on these twinges of sadness. I have been told that I “feel” too much, but after more than four decades of living this way and sharing it through my writing, I wouldn’t trade my oversensitivity for anything. I remember a seventh grade report I did on the Noble Prize winning novelist and poet William Faulkner who said, “the human heart in conflict with itself can make good writing because only that is worth writing about.”
So I have learned to embrace the twinges I get. I embrace them and I see them as God’s gifts to me. Gifts that open me to seeing beyond what currently is, to the what might be, that always leads to the what is to come.
The cows munched, my eyes gazed and my hands kept washing the dishes.
Earlier that day I had a visit with a dear friend whom I haven’t seen in more than year. It was wonderful catching up with her. As we sat on her patio of her lakefront home, I had that familiar twinge of sadness. I guess I was already thinking about the good bye that was to come and wondered when I might see her again. I guess I was thinking about the last time I sat with her, as I got ready to move away just a year ago. I guess I got to thinking about the last time I sat in the double Adirondack chair and enjoyed the view of the lake with her husband, whose health was declining, by my side. I remembered the wind blowing then and how I just wanted it to stop. No more changes. Stop for just even a second.
I looked over at that chair now empty. The wind blew off of the lake and the roses she planted a few years ago, which have matured beautifully, began to dance as if filled with joy. So why then the sad twinge I felt?
As I drove the serpentine country road home, I passed a farmhouse that I have passed hundreds of times. I always took notice of it because in the yard there were these huge wooden letters that would spell out words. In all the years I have driven past that house, the words have typically been three that took turns appearing: “peace,” “joy,” and “rejoice.” This time, though, there was new word.
I had to slow down and do double take. Trust? I have never seen that spelled out before on the property. Trust. It was as if God put that sign there just for me, especially since the last “t” in the word was a cross.
Trust the twinges of sadness. Trust the now empty chairs. Trust the letting go. Trust the growing older. Trust the children turning into adults before your eyes.
Trust the winds blowing.
Trust…the unknown tomorrow for God will lovingly and gently reveal it. For it is God and only God who holds my comings and goings, my plans to my life, in His loving and very capable hands.
The dishes were done. The warm sudsy water had turned cold and sudless. And the cows? They began their march back home.
I watched the slow, solemn procession. Their tales waved as if waving good-bye to me. I leaned over the sink towards them as if that would keep them from leaving me. Over the hill and beyond they went until the last little calf was out of sight.
“Trust,” I heard myself whisper softy out loud.
The cows will be back…
Tomorrow. Just trust.