Here on the Bandit Ranch, we never procrastinate. We go about our projects methodically and tidily. Everything gets done before the deadline.
We would NEVER be caught running around in the dark trying desperately to fix up a temporary goat shelter before a winter storm moves in. So any advice I have for you today is purely hypothetical.
I swear on a stack of… Um… Never mind.
In our defense, Paul has been under the weather most of the week. But he sucked it up and went out with me into the dark and windy night, to try and maneuver a horse trailer through our yard (no, it’s not a junkyard. It’s a professional redneck Motor Vehicle Obstacle Course) and into the Pygmy goat pen so they would have shelter. All while running a high fever. All because his
parlor ornament wife can’t back a trailer for nuthin’.
If only it were that easy.
With nervous Pygmies darting around like moths in the beam of the headlights, we set to. After running over a pile of aluminum cans (I promise they were headed for recycling – I’m not that irresponsible), using a rock, two boards, and a spare ball hitch to jack up the trailer, and narrowly missing a head-on collision between the truck fender and the fencepost, Paul was worn out.
Then we remembered the OTHER goats. Every night before we go to bed, we play a couple rounds of Musical Goats. This involves a complex routine of shuffling goats from pen to pen in different combinations until we get the right one (only AFTER you have tried to add, subtract, and divide a bunch of goats who swarm around your feet like the Red Sea, preventing you from moving a step, should you tell me it’s easier than it sounds. Hah!). All so we can milk them in the morning.
Tonight, though, would be easy. Only two goats needed moving.
It. Was. Dark.
What would a loving wife do? Send her sick husband straight in to bed.
What did I do?
That’s right. I’m afraid of the dark. Stood there shaking in my boots and asked him to come with me.
OK, readers, now you know the truth. RC isn’t brave enough after dark to walk a hundred feet past the house, with a flashlight, on a path she has walked a million times, to go call in two pet goats who will come running, all within the confines of a ten-acre predator-proof fence. Nope. She begs her feverish husband to come with her.
That is putting his needs first, how?
4 months, 2 weeks, and 2 days ago, I stood up in front of Paul, God, and a whole bunch of people and promised to love and cherish him, in sickness and in health. Did I already forget that?
Sure, it’s not like I cheated on him. It’s not like I did something big and horrible. But the little things are where it counts. In some ways, the mundane, unimportant details are where my true character will be tested the most.
Since I am undeservingly blessed with a loving and mature husband, he came with me. We got the goats moved in less than two minutes. He didn’t even get irritated with me for asking him to come.
But the hardest part is accepting that. Accepting forgiveness, from both Paul and God, when I have messed up again. It would be easy to just beat myself up for it. But God doesn’t want penance from us. He is abundantly free with mercy. I know that, because He has allowed me to learn these lessons from the small things.
No, sin is not necessarily ranked ‘little’ or ‘big’ before Him. But “He has saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy” (Titus 3:5). I am humbled before such a God.
Paul and I are walking through this life as best we know how, striving to better ourselves. Yes, we must “walk worthy of His calling” (Ephesians 4:1). But the fact remains that some days we are going to mess up. And sometimes God’s presence is felt most strongly when we are forced to look our own inadequacy in the face, and simply thank Him for His grace.
Yes, I intend to do better about keeping my promises – to show myself faithful in the little things. No, it won’t be easy, or fun all the time. But we didn’t promise to love and cherish each other only in health, for better, for richer. The promise wasn’t condition-based – it was commitment-based.
That is my contribution to this world…to always strive for better in all I do. And it will be worth it, to me, to Paul, to someone I’ll never know who may have needed to hear this today.