Today, I tied Dandelion, the goat, down behind the barn. I always make sure to try to check on him frequently because there are lots of small saplings down there that he eats, but also gets tangled in. I untangled him around lunchtime and peeked at him a couple times during the day. When I was making supper, I heard him yelling, but he sounded funny. So I went down to check on him. His chain was wound around a tree right near his collar and the collar was twisted by his neck.
I'll spare the gory details, but he was in bad shape. I couldn't get the collar off, so I ran back in the house and grabbed some scissors, hoping they would cut the heavy nylon collar. I ran back out there, but he was struggling so violently and wound so tightly that I couldn't get the scissors under the collar. I ran back in and tried to call Nathan's cell. He was doing some work at the house of our friend, K., just a few miles down the road. He didn't answer, so I called K's number. I told her what happened and asked her to send Nathan right away.
I ran down behind the barn again to try some more, but it was too late. And I, being the soft wuss that I am, sat down on a crate and bawled.
Jonah was very concerned about me, and couldn't understand what was wrong. He hugged me and told me to stop crying. "Let's fix him, Mommy! Give him a drink!"
Nathan and K. arrived in the truck, but of course there was nothing to do. K. was very sweet-- she's an "animal person" too.
Now, I've raised a lot of animals. I've lost a lot of animals. It just happens. And I have no problem with raising animals for meat. God gave them to us for food. But I've always been known to get very attached to my animals-- even irritating, useless ones. And this was very sudden and traumatic. And I feel like a stupid idiot. I suppose even if I had been able to get the collar off, it would still have been too late for him. I wish I had checked earlier. I don't know how long he suffered like that.
I've always known it's not safe to tie goats. (I tied my first goat, until we figured out that it didn't work very well. She died a miserable death, too, but not from being tied.) This is why I don't want to have animals until we're set up to keep them properly. I do want animals very, very much. It's programmed into my genes, I guess. But I still don't want them at the expense of poor management. Success with raising animals really depends on doing things right. We do have an area for a small pasture, but fence is expensive and low on the priority list. I just keep praying for something to come along (we're certainly not above scrounging someone's used fencing).
It got me thinking, though. I know the saying, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away" is so cliche, but it is actually true. Dandelion was given to us and we were going to fatten him up over the summer for meat in the fall, but as my Dad reminds me, "Man proposes and God disposes." But it's just like everything else we have. We didn't get it for ourselves, we were blessed with it. God has provided all we have. (Almost every stick of furniture in our house was given to us. Even our wonderful, faithful pickup truck was a gift.) All of our chickens were given to us, but we're having a lot of trouble with them. I was hoping the flock would multiply over the summer, but instead, they're decreasing. And the rooster died the other day, so that cuts short their chances of further multiplication. I'm bummed about it, but there's nothing I can do.
Sorry for rambling, but I'm seeing this pattern in my whole life. Absolutely everything.
I think I'm supposed to be learning a lesson, here.
God chooses the gifts that are best for us. I should not try to force my will. And it's not like I have anything to complain about. We're certainly taken care of, and none of this world's crap is gonna matter in the end (may it please come soon). We have rich blessings. Even if every thing was taken from us, we'd still be richly blessed with our Salvation. This world is just stuff.
And now I'm realizing that this is about much more than I'm saying here, and getting into deeper territory that I'm normally comfortable publishing for all the internets to see. How did this post about my poor goat turn into this batch of navelgazing?
I had better hit "publish" before I chicken out.