She’s In Deep Muck. I Call Her Buttercup.

A shudder jolted through my chest. My pupils shrank. Heartbeat raced. “What was that?!”

A black mass surged up through the crusty layer of the pond-sized manure lagoon, then disappeared. I stared in disbelief. I waited. Nothing.

The manure lagoon is the collection reservoir for a year’s worth of barn cleaning. An old tractor tire fashioned into a plow and mounted on a skid-steer enables me to push manure, daily, from the alleyways of the elevated cow-shed to the lagoon 100-feet below.

Muck, manure is a valuable, recyclable commodity for a dairy farm. In the Fall, the liquefied compost is pumped through pipelines and injected into the soil of the surrounding fields, capturing hundreds of thousands of gallons of fertilizer for this sustainable agricultural practice.

Minutes later, after fumbling for my phone to alert my boss to the urgent situation, three more desperate lurches of panic confirmed that it was a 700-pound yearling Holstein heifer struggling for the embankment, thirty feet away.

She’s in deep muck. I call her Buttercup. The effort exhausted her. She sank.

Lush green pasture surrounds the lagoon during early spring days like this one. Buttercup should have been laying in the deep green grass, barely visible, chewing her cud. Instead, she waits, submerged, except for her air gulping muzzle, in a horrible pit, fatigued and hypothermic, needing rescue.

Take A Deep Breath of Remember. Do you, like me, feel a shockwave go through your chest, your gut, when you realize it’s not just Buttercup that gets herself into a horrible pit? Listen to the words of the Psalmist who understood our condition:

I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3, KJV)

My boss and his son liberated Buttercup. It’s a gospel-like story. A father sent his son out to the end of the appendage of the arm of a backhoe extended out over the lagoon, to place a halter on Buttercup and pluck her to the safety of solid ground. She shall flourish.

So, too, shall we. Once again, God’s top-down rhythm, drawing us to daily repentance, breaks into the Barnyard of Heaven. God Cleanses Us.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, so many times you have brought me out of a horrible pit. Thank you for sending Your Son, Jesus, to rescue me, save me repeatedly, and set my feet on a rock. I sing a new song to You. I sing my praises to my Savior. Amen.

Photo Credit: Mire and Clay

 

I Call Her Blossom

 2 A.M.  Her distress cry pierced the frigid blackness.   My lantern’s faint beams caught her blinking hard, her eyelashes coated with the tiny, compact snow crystals unique to the Montana high country.  The same sparkling snow blanketed her shivering body.  I lifted her into my arms, twirled about, and labored uphill a couple hundred yards toward the shelter with yellow light visible through the windows, promising warmth.  Our breath clouds mixed, immediately froze leaving millions of miniscule gems drifting slowly earthward.  The exertion left me exhausted and gasping for breath, but urgency spurred me on.  I gently laid her on freshly strewn straw.  A noiseless voice in my soul whispered, “I’ll never tire of this wonder.”  A newborn Holstein heifer calf.

The veil over heaven just got a little thinner.

Thus begins a liturgy.  An ancient rhythm repeated for generations of mankind devoted to bearing the image of God,  as ones intent on seeing things on earth flourish.

For this heifer calf to live, to grow, to develop into a fruitful, flourishing milk cow, many little liturgies are required.  Rhythms, routines, schedules intentionally carved out over days, seasons, years.  I will be deliberate in my efforts to see this heifer flourish.  It’ll take nearly three years before she produces her first drop of milk.  I’m all in – born to this task of nurturing, growing and shaping.  I call her Blossom.

And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:25, KJV)

What rhythms, routines, habits make up your day?

Do you see them shaping you to love something/someone?

Are you able to cause something/someone around you to flourish?