Number eight appeared fine at 3 am. It's now after 8 am and the Vet says he hasn't nursed, so off to the squeeze chute we go. I watch as the Vet carries the squirming 85 pound white-faced newborn. It hollers and mama Cocoa keeps pace right behind. We make it to the squeeze chute and begin trying to latch the calf on to the over-sized mama teats. For some reason Cocoa is just not happy. She is kicking and not allowing us to milk her teats and get this calf on. It is intense. Frustration and anger begin to swell. Time is running out. Other chores and a heard check at a dairy are waiting. I take a deep breath, try to collect my thoughts and control my inside turmoil. Like Cocoa I want to kick and holler loud. Really I want to beat the cow up, but she is close to 1800 pounds of mama and well, I just don't stand a chance.
I find myself making mental notes as this movie plays out before me. I whisper, "God help us." I need the fruit of the Spirit now. Now I am covered with sticky fresh cow milk, poop, pee and blood. Somehow through the struggle I have now cut my hand up. Life is messy. This is not how I envisioned the morning playing out. The Vet has no patience...mine is thinning. I suggest he walk away, take a break, go do something else. These animals can sense our level of frustration. I take over trying to get the calf on. During all of this, the young bull in the pen next to the squeeze chute is causing trouble. He keeps knocking down the panel and stirring up Cocoa. Distractions we don't need right now. The calf is tired and needs his first meal. He is fighting us with every move.
That bull kept trying to sneak though the panel. I had the calf on the teat twice but had to quit due to the bull. Have you ever had to quit something good? It's not the calf's fault, I must be patient and keep trying.
It becomes apparent that the calf has most likely tired to get on the mom but due to the kicking has given up. We make the decision to collect the milk and feed a bottle. Finally the calf took an entire bottle.
We are not in control of circumstances. I can't control how the animals will react. I can only control my feelings and actions. This morning I was reminded again of how desperate I am for the Holy Spirit to fill me daily -- moment to moment. It is not enough to say I am Spirit filled -- I want to be Spirit filled. I can't do that alone. God allows difficulties in our everyday messy lives to give us opportunities to demonstrate the fruits. An opportunity to show the outside world the changes that are being birthed in the garden of my heart. I recognize that I don't always rise to the occasion. I fail miserably. At least for me I am becoming more keenly aware of my environment and I sense the nudge to pray more often and listen to the voice offering me tools to overcome my flesh.
So this morning I have joy because a calf was helped and I learned from number eight. I learned that in all circumstances we are to be joyful.
Who can't be joyful with a face like that!