The Shovel, the goat, and me…


This morning as I pondered what thoughts I would like to share… I borrowed a page from the book I have been writing. This particular page was written last summer and I share the words in hope that they provide a different perspective when things are not exactly going as we may wish.

Even with the most optimistic and hopeful attitude sometimes things are very difficult and it is hard to be and think positive. I am sitting in my car waiting for Monday at three to go to work. I have been out of money since Friday at noon and have just enough fuel in my car to get to work. I have been staying in the Wal-Mart parking lot and am very happy to be alive and happier that I bought a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter and jelly on Wednesday when I had gotten paid from my unemployment. This week should be a little easier knowing I get a paycheck next Friday.

I am hopeful that the worst is over for now. I recall when I was working on a project in Philly a little over a year ago having a conversation with some acquaintances. I had been in some very rough financial times, it was the holidays the paycheck between Christmas and New Years. After the five hundred dollars was taken out for child support, I was left with twenty dollars. I hadn’t seen a twenty dollar check since I was thirteen. We were talking about hitting bottom and how things got better after that. I had thought that was how it worked however to my surprise one of the men said when you hit bottom get a shovel. Funny he said that at that time because I got laid off a month or so later and needed that shovel ever since.

I was driving across Nebraska on one of my ten trips across the country in the last two years. I was listening to a radio station that played mostly gospel type music and an occasional sermon. On this particular evening, I had for some reason stopped on this station I guess I liked the preachers voice, in any event the story I listened to was another of those gems that have become a treasure to me.

The story was of a farmer and his goat. The goat was the farmer’s friend and pet rather than just a farm animal. The goat had fallen in a well the farmer had intended to fill in yet had not gotten around to it. The farmer saw the goat had fallen in the well and thinking the goat was dead began filling in the well, he was filled with sadness and anger for he should have filled in the well years ago and his friend would still be with him. He was scooping up dirt with his tractor and dumping it down the hole. The goat feeling the first of the dirt hitting him jumped up and started making noise to tell his farmer friend he was alive. The farmer of course could not hear his friend the goat over the tractor. The goat thinking nothing of it just stood up and shook the dirt off then stamped it down. Eventually when enough dirt had been dumped in the hole for the goat to jump out he did.

That story has resonated in my heart since hearing it. When in a hole and life keeps throwing dirt on you rather than get buried shake it off tramp it down and climb out of the hole. I have been trying to apply the same thoughts as I sit here now with my shovel. Instead of digging deeper I would like to start filling in the hole.

I am sure that in the bigger scheme of things I am going through the hard times I am for a reason. Partially from making poor choices and partially because that is what my maker had in mind for me. Hard times and the lessons learned are what shape us and bring about the beautiful soul we are meant to be. Hard times like a flower, can be a beautiful and change our way of looking at things if we actually stop and look at them. I have often thought that when things went wrong I was cursed or had made god mad and was being punished. I know now however, that these times are meant to bring out the best and worst inside so the true treasure can rise to the top. Like the dirt the goat shook off and tramped down, the thoughts of being cursed and gods punishment are  tramped down, and the thoughts of  love and finding the good in the situation rise to the top. The realization of the treasures of life bring a smile to my face and a feeling of lightness in my heart. All will be as it should and I will jump out of the hole and stand with my friend again.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and allowing me to share my thoughts. I hope all of you have a great day!

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4 thoughts on “The Shovel, the goat, and me…

  1. Thank you Gwen… I hope and believe that things will get better. I am hopeful that by sharing some of my thoughts that I may help others as well through their hard times. Hard times are good as they build character.

  2. A dear friend of mine once told me, “If you can’t change your life, change your attitude.” To many people, who fall on hard times, slip easily into depression and start blaming the world (and others) for their situation. It isn’t easy to “keep stepping” when everything seems to want to weigh you down. Thank you for sharing your optimism, and spreading your courage.

    Inspiration comes in many forms, celebrate the fact that you are one!

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