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Blog 1/24/2012

The glory in mucking out a goat shed…..1/24/2012

It seems quite fitting that the first entry of Mystical Ventures be about glory, but also be about a task so mundane that few would seek to engage in forking out piles of wood shavings, hay and goat excrement. Today, however, was a glorious day. The end of January in the Northeast rarely sees temperatures of 50-55 degrees, but today was one of them. The foot of snow we had a few days ago almost was gone this morning since it rained all last night, and the sun was out all day with a slight breeze.   It was a perfect spring day, albeit probably a tease, but lovely nonetheless. It takes time to clean a shed (this one is 10 x 12), and there is a rhythm to bending over with a rake or pitchfork and tossing the muck outside the doors. There are two windows in the shed, and I had them both open, feeling the breezes and enjoying the sunlight. The rhythm became a prayer. Every 15 minutes or so, I went outside and raked that “fertilizer in the making” over the melting snow and breathed in even more fresh air. Then I returned to the inside of the shed. The goats were in the adjoining yard and not too happy they couldn’t climb in and out of the shed while I worked, but we spoke with each other in our own ways. They, too, seemed to enjoy this brief and early glimpse of spring. Their winter coats are keeping them warm, but today it felt like taking off jackets and just running around the yard. Goats are kind of funny creatures. They think I’m their herd queen, and follow me around a bit. They’re whimsical and kind, never bite, except maybe a dangling tie or ribbon on my clothes. They’re intelligent and know their names, never come out in a rain storm or when it’s snowing, but love just about all other kinds of weather. They’re also pictured on some of humanity’s most ancient communication in Far Eastern hieroglyphics. People all around the world raise goats, many of them quite poor, and more people drink goat’s milk that cow’s milk on this planet. Taking care of their simple shed offers solidarity with all the others who serve these gentle creatures, past and present. In the midst of enjoying the day and the task, the rhythm of prayer drew me to praise and thanksgiving of our loving God. God is so good. He has given us a world to share with other creatures of the earth. I am reminded of a passage from Jonah that one of my colleagues recently shared with a few of us over lunch: “And should I not be concerned about Ninevah, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons, who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals.” (Jonah 4:11). God’s concern is for every creature in the universe, and God’s love extends covenant to all. Praise the God of Glory!