20 April 2011, Wednesday, 1336, Liberty Middle School
We did get our offer. We had a real struggle at first because it was so much lower than what we had originally hoped for. It’s a little tough to swallow when the house you made a good down payment on and have been paying on for 5 years nets you a pittance in equity. I guess that’s what comes of a bad economy and the extreme reduction in the space program. Enough said on that. Frankly, we were upset and bitter. Angry because God’s provision did not work out the way we thought that it should. We got some encouragement through our friends and family, but what has helped us turn the corner was the realization of how ungrateful we were. Here is the thing that we have been praying for for quite some time now and we got upset about it. We had to get on our knees and repent of our crummy attitudes. You know, it helped. We are once again, grateful that this giant albatross hanging around our necks is almost gone. Also, things are moving pretty swiftly. We have already had the inspection and that seems to have gone well, with minimal problems that we have to tend to. But you know, it doesn’t matter if it’s going well or not. We are just happier because we are not second-guessing God. Now, I wish I could tell you that we have absolutely excised our gripey nature, but I’m sure we have not completely. Like most things, it’s a process. So, be patient.
I have gotten in the habit of telling stories to the classes I sub for. Not long ones, of course, because I have to accomplish what the teacher has asked me to, but just something to keep kids from having to read a book or do a word search for an hour. I dare say that for the most part, they find my stories entertaining. They ask for them whenever I show up. By the way, I do realize that it’s largely because they would rather do anything than work.
The other day, I told a couple of stories about how I sometimes thought Dad had it in for me. As a boy of about 12 or so, maybe younger, we were branding calves. I was afoot in the roping pen full of cows, trying to get my rope on something. I succeeded, but not the way I wanted to. I threw a loop out and instead of the cute little light calf I was aiming at, I got my rope on a big heifer. Before I even had time to realize what was happening, that heifer jerked me off my feet and started dragging me around the pens. In the background, I was vaguely aware of everyone in the other pen shouting at me. My Granddad, Grandmother, cousins and everyone were all imploring me, “Let Go, Jason, Let Go!” But somehow, above them all, I heard the voice of my Dad, “Hang On, Jason, Hang On!” Hang on, I did. That cow took me for a couple of laps through the mud and manure, but I managed to get my feet under me and get it stopped.
Several years later, we were all out penning some cows. They made a good run and we chased ‘em down. My cousin Shannon kept up nicely and I was impressed so I rode over to her and by way of encouraging her slapped her shoulder with my hat. I was on ol’ Ranger that day and this horse was calm to the point of being asleep half the time. When I started waving my hat in the air, he woke up and started to buck. Up and forward he leapt, immediately throwing me out of the saddle and onto his rump. Knowing this is no way to ride a horse, I was about to push off and get clear, when I heard my Dad again, yelling across the field, “Hang On, Jason, Hang On!” Ranger pitched forward and I was back on the saddle if not exactly in it. I rode (“clung to” is a better way to say it) to that horse until he stopped bucking and running. Sometimes in front, sometimes in back, sometimes on his left, sometimes on his right. Of course by the time he quit, the only hold I had on him was with my arms around his neck and both feet dragging the ground, but by thunder, I did not get thrown.
After telling those stories to the kids, I mentioned it to Anna and told them to her. She said that I needed to really listen to what I had just said.
Both of those times, my Dad encouraged me to stick it out. He kept me from letting go of a rope in a pen full of agitated cows, leaving me lying on the ground and he encouraged me to stick with that horse, keeping me from hitting the ground hard. He figured I could hang on, even when it didn’t make sense to me or anyone else. When I was about to join the Cadet Corps, I told my Dad that I wasn’t sure I could get through it. He told me that he had seen me get drug through a pen full of cows without letting go and he figured I could do this. He was right.
I can’t tell you how many times, this move and change in our lifestyles has been rough. I can’t tell you how rough it has been. I can’t remember how many times I have thrown up my hands and said, “I can’t do it.” But now, when all the reasons to let go are going through my head. When I struggle with worry and fear, I can hear it. It’s that voice from my Big Father.
“Hang On, Jason, Hang On!!”