Sunday, March 2, 2014

March 1: A Milk Pail Encapsulates Our Life

Phil headed out to milk. A half hour later he came in with an empty, dirty pail: the cow had stepped in the bucket again. She was going two for two.

"I should have followed my gut and put the milk into the jar. She had just started dancing around a little. I wouldn't have wasted as much," said Phil, as he went out to milk the rest.

I asked him about that later. What was he thinking about when the cow kicked over the milk.

"Too bad the cow kicked over the milk."

This is why Phil is constitutionally capable of being a farmer and why I am not.

When I have gone to milk and the cow kicks over the bucket, here is what I think.

"I just spent a half hour milking and have nothing to show for it. I could have earned $x in that time (or read to the boys or studied homeopathy or whatever else seemed more desirable). Why didn't I listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and poured the milk into a jar when I had a chance? What a failure I am! And now I'm overreacting. That proverb says that there's no use crying over spilled milk, so why am I getting so upset?"

Thus, what is a minor inconvenience for Phil was a whole different scale for me: I would turn it into an issue of providing for my family (either financially or educationally), a spiritual failure, and an emotional failure.

How have I stayed sane these last four years or so?

I asked Phil if he dreads getting up, knowing he has to milk twice? "No," he said, sounding surprised.

And I would get up entirely filled with dread, knowing that both my morning and evening would be taken up with milking.

Not that I disliked milking. There is something bracing and refreshing about getting outside without anyone else around, putting the forehead on the cow's flank, and simply milking away, rhythmically. And yet ... I'm thankful I don't have to do it anymore.

I spent my day finishing the homework for the first module of my new homeopathy school.

Isaiah made himself a mask with a beard.

And, using Bananagrams, he made a replica of an airplane.

Phil did some tile work to finish off the floor around the doors.

And he put up trim around the French doors.

The boys and I finished The Horse and His Boy, my favorite of the Narnia books. So we, overall, had a much more cheery day.

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