I did not feel love for this sheep. I felt curse words boiling under the surface. Okay, truthfully, I think I even said one outloud. JB threw a post halfway across the section of pasture. I had worn shorts out to help him and my legs were totally cut up from wayward briars. We stayed calm with each other, but were both on the brink of getting into a fight simply because we were so exhausted and so tired from trying to get this one girl to come home.
My husband is calm all the time. He is an ER doctor and gets paid to stay calm in stressful situations. I still remember when we were in the tax office and were told that we actually hadn't purchased the home we were living in! I am pacing and praying and fretting and the lady at the desk turns to me and says, "How is your husband so calm? They just told you that you don't own your home!"
While moving our sheep from one paddock to another on Sunday morning mere moments before we were planning to get in the truck and make a four hour drive to pick up a new ram, one of our
dear sheep got separated from the herd. Usually, moving them is quite simple. You have a bucket of grain, you say "Here sheepie, sheepie, sheepie ..." and "Snowball", one of our friendliest sheep, walks right beside me and eats out of my hand, and the rest follow right behind. (Sheep are not that smart and really rely on staying together for survival.)
But occasionally, one of them will get separated from the group. Lately, "Lotsa Freckles" has been that sheep. She was the one gal we could not catch to trim her hooves. And on Sunday morning, she was the one sheep that got separated. They went left, she went right, and suddenly she was not in the paddock with them.
Explaining to a sheep that all she needs to do is go through the part of the fence that we have opened up for her seems simple enough, but "Lotsa Freckles" wasn't listening at all. We even brought the other sheep back out to show her how to go in .... twice ... but she would not take the hint. Every time she went the wrong way, she busted to the other side of the pasture and one of us had to walk all the way around her and push her back toward the entrance only to have her bolt again.
(Have you seen our farm? The hills are incredibly steep! And did I mention it was blistering hot? It is seriously an incredibly hard mission to do this over and over and over again. I think it may be worse than your coach saying "Gimee another suicide.")
JB and I spent an HOUR trying to get this girl into her paddock. He's shouting directions "Go up! Push her down! Walk toward her! Back off!" and I am walking back and forth and back again. I bit my tongue whenever I felt my husband was being a little too tough one me. I'm a basketball player not a shepherdess for crying-out-loud!
Honestly, an animal not cooperating is one of the only times I ever see JB even close to losing his cool. After what felt like the tenth failed attempt, he threw the post and said, "That's it! If she is too dumb to go where it is safe, she can just live outside the fence!"
My jaw dropped. "Are you serious?"
"Yes," he said. "I'm done. We have to leave. Let her be."
He may have said something about wishing he had his gun, but I doubt he'd want me to write about that on my Blog.
We left for our trip with "Lotsa Freckles" stuck outside the electric fence.
And when we got home the next day -- she was back in! That sheep busted through the fence to get back with her herd even though we were unable to get her to go through the opening for an hour.
Thank you Jesus for loving me enough to try to push me back through the gate with no shortage of attempts. He never gives up! He keeps going back for us and waiting and forgiving and staying calm.
Jesus is amazing.