45 MollyGreen.com | Spring on the Homestead | Spring 2017
Okay, I’ll admit. This didn’t solve the problem, and my second
confession is also obvious: I’m not the most rational in the
morning when my sleep is disturbed.
I stood on the deck in my purple fuzzy socks with my arms
folded, baffled at our pitiful flock. Not one sheep from the
herd stopped grazing long enough to answer the detached
sheep, and the lonely sheep stood frozen in time like she was
paralyzed in some kind of sci-fi force field. The wind chilled me
again. I stopped, listening to the echo of my own voice lingering with the message that I had just yelled to our unreceptive
sheep. Truth unfolded like a wall of morning glories in spring.
I discovered at that moment how similar I am to our bunch of
dew-drenched clueless sheep who now have my full attention at
5 a.m. on a Saturday morning.
Sheep have only two ways to survive: one is the protection of
the shepherd and the other is staying with the herd. I thought
about each survival technique.
Sheep Survival Technique Number One:
The Protection of the Shepherd
As the shepherd of our little flock, I provide food, water, and
shelter. I also erect and mend fences that keep predators out. I
shear their woolly coats yearly and care for them when they are
sick or hurt. Without these provisions, their lifespan would be
in serious jeopardy.
Sheep Survival Technique Number Two:
Living in a Herd
When we moved to the country and purchased our first sheep,
we were told by the sheep breeder (while he leaned on his
broken fence post and talked real slow): “You can’t just have
the one. Ya gotta buy at least two, or they won’t survive. They
need each other.”
Pushy sheep salesman, I thought.
But he explained that sheep, by nature, are herding creatures.
Without the herd, they are lonely and vulnerable to daily disasters. If one sheep feels threatened, he alerts the whole flock
to the present danger. And so we bought two sheep. Our herd
grew each year, and our woolly friends enjoyed the protection
of a healthy herd. As their shepherd, I expected that each sheep
would do its part in looking out for the others.
I sat down on my favorite front porch rocking chair and
thought about the fact that when it comes to needs and survival, we humans aren’t too different from our woolly friends.
Human Survival Technique Number One:
The Protection of the Shepherd
We farm folks welcome spring rains, breathe the scent of flowering fields, see a sunset, and rest on a front porch rocking chair
knowing who to thank. The rhythm of the seasons bears the
stamp of the Creator’s fingerprints and His Providence. And
like a soldier in a foxhole, we nod in agreement that there is a
Divine Shepherd, and we benefit from His daily care.
Human Survival Technique Number Two:
Living in Community
Like the sheep on our farm, we also limit our life and lifespan
if we don’t stick with the herd. But wait a minute. Am I my
brother’s keeper? That’s the million dollar question asked by
throngs of people through the ages. I gazed at the lonely sheep
still baaahing. Just like Cain, I knew the answer to this age-old
question. The answer is yes.
Living in community means that I accept the responsibilities
to not only hear the cries of my fellow humans but be ready to
move to action. It means that when I need help, I move past my
pride to ask my neighbor.
I realized that sometimes I hear the cries of my fellow neighbors having trouble in a particular aspect of life, but like the
herd off my balcony, I fail to get involved. I am too focused on
my own personal needs, not listening to the lonely baaahing in
the corner of my community.