Someone left the gate open and the steer had escaped. Drawn to the barn’s bovine buffet, he entered therein. My best guess is that Zorro (the dog), caught him in the act and barked aggressively. The steer responded alarmedly and the rest is history. Disarray. Destruction. Disaster.
I was devastated. I treasure my bike. I truly do. My bike had been trampled and I felt like my heart had been too. What to do? What to do? I woke Lance and asked him to come out and survey the scene, hoping that sharing my sorrow would lessen it. He gave me a big hug. My heart still hurt.
What to do? I awoke the child who left the gate open and shared what had happened. I was nice but I was so, so sad. “I am so sorry Mom. I am so sorry,” was the sincere, heartfelt response.
Still upset, frustrated, and heart-sick, I continued pondering what to do. I estimated the repairs would cost over $500. Should I charge the child for the bike repair? It would be a natural consequence…
I prayed for guidance.
Almost immediately my mind was opened to experiences I’d had with my father on the farm. So many times my mistakes cost him time and money but never, NEVER, did he yell at me or condemn me. He never made me pay for the damages and he never made me feel like less of a person for having made a mistake.
Multiple times I let tainted milk go into the bulk tank when I failed to catch a cow who had been treated with antibiotic. When I did that, someone would have to drive a milk sample an hour to Idaho Falls for testing and sometimes Dad would have to dump an entire tank of milk. When I was swathing hay more than once I hit a header on the main water line which meant he’d have to shut down the entire irrigation system and send a tractor out into the field, pulling the mobile welding unit, to repair it. Several times I moved a wheel line against the wind stabilizers, breaking the line and necessitating another repair. Never did he yell at me for those mistakes. Not once. Nor did he make me pay. Nor did he make me feel stupid.
I knew I needed to make sure the child who left the gate open had a similar experience. Immediately I found the child, expressed my love, and made it very clear that I knew mistakes happen and that there were no hard feelings.
“Thank you Mom.” Preserve the relationship!!!
Later the same morning, in our Sunday services, I felt compelled to share my story as a parable with the following lessons:
- Prayers are answered. “Did you think to pray?” is a very valid question and when we do think to pray we get very valid answers.
- Like my father, Heavenly Father loves us, accepts us, and completely forgives us when we make mistakes. As we recognize our errors and express sorrow, we are forgiven. Our Father in Heaven does not belittle us, condemn us, or make us feel like less of a person. He expects us to learn from our mistakes, He even expects us to make mistakes, but His love for us is never compromised by the mistakes me make.
- Like my father, Christ will absorb the cost of our mistakes. He paid the price. We do not have to.
I thought I’d been impressed to share my story in church because maybe someone needed to hear its message. Turns out my sharing the story was a tender mercy to me. Kevin Mayes, who is a member of our congregation, heard my story and volunteered to fix the bikes.
Thank you Heavenly Father (and Kevin)!