Sunday, May 27, 2018

The empty halter

Joyce Sasse -
Since we are in the season of 4-H Achievement Days, the recollection of a story that happened several years ago seems appropriate.

The day after Robbie sold his first 4-H calf he brought the empty halter to church. That halter and the pathetic look on Robbie’s face told it all. On past Sundays he had lovingly talked about training and caring for his calf. Now he told what happened. It wasn’t about the dollars raised. It was about the surrender of his pet. As we listened, tears welled in all our throats.

I appreciated the way the tiny church family shared this unfolding drama. During “check in” time at the beginning of most of our services congregants were invited to tell about their highs, their lows and their concerns. The issues were remembered in prayer and were discussed later over coffee. It was our way of building community and affirming the spiritual values that nurture us.

In the prayers we gave thanks for the way our farmers cared for the land and their livestock. In the hymns we sang about the gifts of Creation and how we need to be wise caretakers of this world. On this particular Sunday, as we sat around the coffee table, Robbie was encouraged to talk more about how he felt when his animal was sold. A couple of adults shared experiences of loss and told about what helped them get through their feelings of emptiness.

That kind of talk made all of us feel a little better. Not only does it “take a village to raise a child”, but we all need to be part of that village. Finding a “safe place” to talk about our delights and our disappointments helps us move toward acceptance and hope.

That’s what is meant when we sing “Come in and sit down, you are a part of the family.”

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