By Charles Towne
The elderly couple lived on their little farm way out in the country.
They owned this bag of bones mule that was getting a little long in the tooth.
The mule, (it went by the name of Mule) having seen its better days sometime in the previous millennium, usually stood dozing in the meager shade of a dead tree in their front yard half-heartedly swatting flies with its tail and patiently waited for death to pay it a visit.
The old lady had been pestering her husband all spring to get his bony butt out of his rocking chair, hitch up the mule and plow the garden but, the old man, as is the nature of old men everywhere, just sat there rocking away and puffing on his corncob pipe, while he watched the mule swat flies, as he said to his beloved, “There’s plenty of time old woman, plenty of time.
But, the garden went unplowed.
One day the old woman, with her hands on her hips and fire in her eyes, exclaimed, “Old man, if you don’t get out there and plow that garden, that worthless mule is going to croak and the garden ain’t never going to get plowed!”
To which the old man, still rocking away in his rocking chair, and puffing on his corncob pipe said, “Nope, that mule’s got many a year in him yet. He ain’t a’goin t’ die until I say it’s time t’ die, and if he does, why; you can hitch me up and I’ll pull the plow m’self!”
Well, wouldn’t you know it… about two days later the old couple looks out and there that mule was, in all his glory, graveyard dead, yep, went to mule heaven he did.
No sooner had the old man settled himself in his rocking chair and was stoking up his pipe then the old woman came up dragging the mule’s harness. She stood there tapping her foot, and staring at the old man.
Well, the old man knew when he was whipped, so he climbed out of his rocking chair and stood there as the old woman draped the harness on him and hooked him up to the plow. Then she grabbed the reins, cracked the whip, and sure enough, the old man commenced to plow that garden and a right nice job he was doing too until they came to the end of the garden plot, and he just kept on going through a mean bramble patch, across the creek, and smack dab into a three strand barbed wire fence.
Well, there he was, all tangled up in that barbed wire, and bleeding something fierce. He flopped down on the ground, couldn’t go no further. He just laid there glaring up at the old woman. Well now, the old woman was fit to be tied, and she shouted, “What in tarnation is wrong with you old man, are you crazy or something?” To which the old duffer said, “Fer crying out loud woman, don’t you know how to say whoa?”
Now it might be said that both of them, the old man, as well as the old woman, had unrealistic expectations .
It also might be said that communication had broken down between the old folks, but there are those times, what with all of the frustrations, and when the whip of life is snapping at our ears, that we sometimes feel like shouting at God, “For crying out loud, don’t you know how to say whoa?
Please Lord, can’t you stop us before we run through the bramble patches of life, and across the creek of despair, to finally crash into that mean barbed wire fence, with its multiple strands of desperation, frustration, and…?”
And He whispers to us in that still small voice of His. “So, you want me to say whoa do you? I was hoping that when you felt the thorns in the bramble patch, you would stop and talk to me, but you didn’t. Then, when you came to the creek and nearly drowned I was sure you were going to stop, and ask me if that was really the way to do it, but… you didn’t, but we got you through it anyway, didn’t we? Now son, when you crashed into that barbed wire fence; whose fault was that, mine? I just knew you were going to call out to me, but no, you just kept frogging your way through it until it almost killed you. Sometimes, as much as it pains me, I have to let you go. I don’t want to do that, but if I didn’t, you never would learn, and… look how much you have learned. I bet you are going to avoid bramble patches from now on, and please, no more muddy creeks, and certainly barbed wire fences are off limits, right?
OUR PRAYER TODAY
Please Papa God, save me from my gross stupidity. Teach me, show me your clear path, the true way the way to go so you can say to me, “Well done my good and faithful friend, I am so very proud of you. Come on into my house and live with me and see what I have prepared for you.”
PS, Please, O Holy God, inscribe my name in your book of life. Amen
Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.