Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Damsel in Distress

This past weekend, we were surprised to find a "Damsel in Distress" in our goat pen.  When I say "Damsel in Distress" I really mean a "Woman on Drugs."  Yes, you read that correctly.  A woman, stumbling about in the snow, had climbed the fence of our property and was seeking warm shelter.  The goats weren't bothered by her presence, but I was a bit concerned (to say the least).  Actually, she frightened me.  Of all the things we expect to find on our farm in the early morning hours, an inebriated woman is NOT one of them.

"Mamm, can I help you?" I asked.

"Is there somewhere I can warm my hands?" she asked behind slurred words.

Shamefully, I hesitated to reply.  All my defenses came up and a thousand excuses poured into my mind.  "I'm not in the house, so you'll have to go elsewhere."

But it was very cold, and so was she.  In a thin jacket, no gloves or hat, and shoes bearing holes.  Stoned or not, the woman desperately needed help.

With a quick prayer for strength, and a call to my husband, we brought her into the house and sat her by the fire.

She was able to give her name (at least 'A' name, not sure if it was truly hers).  She didn't know where she came from or where she belonged.  She kept leaning over the woodstove as we held her upright while she benefited from its warmth. I was sure she was going to fall headlong onto the scorching surface.

She was confused, cold, and under the influence of some mystery substance (she didn't smell of alcohol). Needing more help than we could possibly give her, I called 911.

Trying to explain to the dispatcher the events leading up to our call, I realized that this woman was a victim.  She stared at us with glassy eyes while complaining of nausea and dizziness.  There was no way to tell how old she was, the effects of drugs had weathered her face and her frail body spoke of past abuse.  

When the paramedics arrived, they tried to get the same information that we attempted to pull from her:
"Where are you from?" 

"Do you know how you got here?"
"Do you have family or friends we can contact?"
A negative reply to all the above.

We personally know the 3 paramedics that responded (the mayor, the grocery manager, and the town engineer) and all of us were surprised that we didn't know who she's a very small town and we tend to know everyone in the area.

Sadly, we'll never know who she really was or how she came to our goat pen.  Our guess is that she got dropped off on the highway and walked aimlessly toward our humble abode.  Seeking warmth.

She was transported to a hospital and we're not sure what became of her after that point.  But I learned something about myself in all of this and I need to repent and ask forgiveness.  It is this: my compassion was slow in coming.

I saw her, judged her immediately, felt violated by her trespassing, and above all --- didn't want to help her (at first).  She was seeking warmth, and I had a cold heart.

Lord, please forgive me...

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  Matthew 25:37-40

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sowing seeds...take two!

Yesterday, I wrote my first blog entry.  I've been so distracted lately that I just needed to get out some words to get going in the blogging world - a promise to my good friends Teresa and Dalyn.

In retrospect and re-reading my entry, I realize it's too easy to hide behind WORDS.  Yes, we wait with anticipation to sow seeds and grow our garden.  And yes, this winter seems to be wearing on us a bit more than other years,  but the whole idea of  "Sowing Seeds" carries much more meaning.  The blog name of "Simply Sowing" sprouts from that which we base our entire purpose as a family.

The sowing we hope to achieve isn't just with vegetable seeds we place tenderly in the garden.  The type of sowing we hope to accomplish isn't bound by seasons either.  In fact, we can plant these seeds during an icy blizzard just as well as during a beautiful spring day.

Seeds of kindness, mercy, patience, peace, love...

Ahh, well, isn't that sweet? As one of my coffee mugs states - "Sow seeds of kindness, watch love grow."  Some days, I want to shatter that mug.

When I wake up in the morning, I have every intention of sowing seeds of kindness, mercy, patience, peace, and love.  But it gets a little more difficult when I find that one of our kids forgot to close the gate to the haybarn, unintentionally allowing the sheep freedom to gorge themselves on the baled hay.  But they are our children, so it's easy to forgive and move on.

What of others we encounter on a daily basis?  I wish it were as easy as planting a radish seed in the springtime.  The truth is, sometimes people are so cold and icy, I think: "Why plant a seed of kindness here?  The seed will only die and my effort will have been wasted."  Then I remember, "It's not about me."  People are hurting, lonely, angry, and afraid.  Their actions speak volumes as they make their way bitterly through life.  What we do, it may never blossom and grow, laying dormant forever.  But then again, if that seed of kindness is given the right environment - warmth, water, sunshine - it WILL grow.  It's not the seed that's in default, it's the nutrients that are lacking.

You know where I'm going with this, right?  Allow the Creator of the world to see to the condition of the "soil".  Our only task here on this earth is to sow.

Simply sow.

My hope and prayer for these blog ramblings is that you be encouraged as I share a bit of how we "sow" in this world.  Whether it be actual seeds planted in the ground, baby goats and sheep born to our farm, or  in the relationships formed while "sowing" seeds of a different nature.
"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." Philipians 2:1-4

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sowing seeds...

It's the dead of winter.

Brown grass lies lifeless under a cap of ice and snow.
Fields reveal row upon row of solid clumps of  frozen dirt.
Trees stand like naked statues of granite reaching bare limbs to the clear blue skies under a deceptive sun.

If a visitor from the tropics came to visit, he would say, "This place is dead with no hope of life!"

Carrying buckets of hot water to our goats and sheep, I have the same sentiment.

As I break the ice on their water trough's with a 5 lb. maul, pouring steaming water while the animals compete for a drink of the warmed beverage, summer is a distant memory for all of us...goats included.  Their eyes plead for warmth, a place out of the snow where they can chew their cud in comfort.  The barn offers small shelter to these critters who prefer fresh grass to their current daily ration of dry hay.

It begs the question: "WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE?"  What is our purpose?  To what end do we hope to gain by the constant struggle against the cold?

The answer: to sow seeds.

We know that if we endure through these long, frigid days, we will be blessed by the warming rains of spring that will transform our little haven into a productive, vibrant farm that will bring a harvest of abundance in it's turn.  We will sow seeds on moist, fertile soil and watch with wonder as life-giving plants grow with unabashed fervor.
The promise of sowing seeds...

It keeps us doing what we do.