This morning at work I nearly got crushed by a stack of 100 pound hay bales. As I was loading up the farm cart to go feed all the goats, suddenly the front 3 rows of hay bales, stacked 6 high, began to fall forwards on to me. I panicked a little, and threw myself against them to stop the collapse, and it worked, but just barely. I knew that if I stopped pushing them back they would all come tumbling down. And though I wouldn’t have been killed or probably even very seriously injured, laying trapped under a giant pile of hay bales for an hour or two until someone came looking didn’t appeal to me either. I had of course left my phone in my locker drawer, so I had now way to ask for help. I found myself to be in quite a quandry. There was no solution I could think of, and the pile of hay was seemingly growing heavier and heavier by the moment. As I frantically searched my brain for an answer, my imagination began to run wild. What if a giant spider (I have seen some in that part of the barn, so this wasn’t as far from reality as you might think) suddenly dropped onto me from the ceiling? I would have no way to get it off without having all the hay collapse on me. What if a swarm of yellow jackets came and started stinging me? (again, there is a lot of yellow jackets on the farm this time of year, and they are cranky, so not that far beyond reason- but I will admit that I have never seen them traveling in a swarm.) It only got worse from there; you might say I have an overactive imagination.
So after a little while and a lot of critical thinking, I managed to kick one of the bales far enough out from under another that it made the stack begin to tip back. I got it just far enough to barely balance and I got the heck out from under that pile of hay. I got my phone and sent a text to Tom asking him to help me re-arrange the hay pile before anyone else showed up at the farm so it wouldn’t collapse on the next person who touched it. I went on my way with a prayer of gratitude, frustrated with the fact that my hay escapade had put me slightly behind schedule.
The rest of morning chores went without a hitch, and I presumed that the difficult part of my day was over, and I had smooth sailing to look forward too. I finished feeding, and I got mostly through milking, and then it happened. One of the goats was sick. (DISCLAIMER: THE NEXT BIT IS NOT FOR THE QUEASY OR SUUEEMISH) As in stomach flu sick. Goats don’t vomit, so when things come out – well, lets just say there is a lot going on in one end of the animal. I didn’t know she was sick ahead of time, so I put her up on the milk stand and washed her udder and was getting ready to milk her when she began to have explosive diarrhea (in goats we call it scours) all over the milking parlor. I felt sorry for her, because obviously she had no control over that bodily function, and she wasn’t feeling well. I also felt irate at the situation because A) who likes cleaning up that kind of mess? not me. B) this kind of mess meant stopping everything and washing, rinsing and sanitizing everything and waiting for it to dry before I could go on. C) this meant getting a lot further behind schedule.
Anyhow, about 40 minutes later I had everything clean and dry and re-assembled and I still had to milk her. So I brought her into the milking parlor, cleaned her up again, and milked her. We got through milking, and just as I was leading her outside, she did it again. So I repeated my previous clean up routine (thankfully she had mostly only hit the wall and the floor this time,so it didn’t take quite as long.) and gratefully finished milking the rest of the herd.
I trudged into the milk room to strain and filter the milk and wash the dishes. After that was completed I sat down to eat my lunch. I pulled out my phone and tapped the facebook icon. I munched my sandwich as I waited for it to load. When it finished loading the first post to appear was from my best friend who is walking through loosing her mom to ovarian cancer right now. She has only weeks left to live, and my friend it facing it with courage and love and the heartbreak that is inescapable in a situation like that. The second post was from another friend whose middle aged parent is terminally ill also. This person also is facing this situation with courage and love.
That is when it hit me. My perspective was totally skewed. I was allowing little things like a near-fiasco with some hay bales and a mess of goat poo to ruin my day. I was allowing it to make me irritable, frustrated and stressed. Meanwhile, my friends are facing the loss of a parent as young adults. Their world is being shaken. I realized that the trivial things that made my day more difficult do not hold a candle to that. I am incredibly blessed to have two wonderful parents who love me and are in good health. I am incredibly blessed to have a support system of friends who I care about. I am incredibly blessed to have a job that I love, even on days when crap happens (pun intended!). I am incredibly blessed to serve a God who loves me, and who blesses me and who expects me to pass it forward.