That’s what a lot of my shepherd friends say and I cannot point to any evidence to the contrary. It’s a little discouraging sometimes.
When a sheep becomes ill or gets injured, there is a very good chance that it will not recover. And, that was the case for the ewe from last Monday’s post.
It’s sad. It’s a bummer. It’s costly, frustrating, discouraging…
But, after the whole “what-if I woulda, coulda, shoulda” thought process, I’m finally able to say: That’s just the way things go. The other ewes will lamb, they’ll grow and be harvested, and the cycle will begin again.
Being a shepherd forces me/us to see things from a slightly different perspective…to learn new things…to understand…
So..really, the thing that sheep do best is…get this…
Seriously? The stupidest creatures on the face of the earth? Teach?
Yep, I think so. And, lessons of all sorts, too.
I can honestly say that in the 10+ years we have been shepherds, I have learned more than I would have ever thought possible. Hands-on learning beats book knowledge by a long shot.
We went from knowing nothing about sheep to feeling confident in diagnosis and treatment options. We rarely call the vet anymore. (One of the old-time vets even told me that we knew what we were doing. Considering the source, this was high praise.)
Our success stories actually outweigh the disaster stories. (obviously, or we wouldn’t keep doing this)
Here are just a few stories from the barn.
From the very first lamb, shepherding taught our girls a lot about responsibility and animal husbandry.
|1st sheep at Homestead Hill|
|caring for newborn lambs|
But, the sheep have taught me some real lessons in thoughtfulness, care, hope, determination, perseverance, creative problem solving…and above all, faith. The whole concept of the Good Shepherd has become far more meaningful after spending some serious time with the woolly creatures.
A very dear old woman (who grew up raising sheep) says that she often finds herself thinking, “oh, dear Lord…why did you have to liken us to sheep? They’re just so stupid!” But, she also says the fact that sheep are so stupid and we are likened to them only proves (You could say teaches---just to prove my point) how much the good Lord must love us…and is still ever so patient with us. To that I must say… Amen, Miss Frances….Amen!