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Posted Friday, April 27, 2012, at 9:11 PM

She had finished eating her supper and was feeling a little frisky. She loved this time of the day. She had grazed all day; had supper of grain, sweetened with molasses; dad had spent time with her--stoking her . . . talking to her . . . and a little grooming as well. Her siblings had also been fed and had some time with dad, but she had him all to herself for the moment.

She pranced a bit as they walked from the stalls of the barn to the outdoor area. Their one on one time was never enough . . . and she wanted to make sure everyone noticed that she had dad all to herself.

The only thing she disliked was the pesky fly that was bugging her. She would snap at it, but the pest always seemed to escape the reach of her teeth. In fact, she got a bit too close to dad with one snap and he spoke to her harshly--foolish fly.

She followed dad closely as he opened a series of gates where the others had been eating. She sniffed about . . . wondering if anyone had left a nibble or two behind in their hurry to get outside to play. It was worth checking out.

Huh, the first bucket was empty. Moving on, she checked out the second and the third before she found a bucket not licked clean. It had a couple of bites if she could just get the bucket moved to the right position. Nudging it with her nose she almost had the last bit of grain . . ..

What was that? She heard sounds behind her. She bet that little scamp, Mister, was coming in to try to get more grain. Or maybe it was Change. She might be the eldest of the bunch, but she found the left over mouthful and it was going to be hers! She was not going to share.

There she heard the sound again! Something was moving near the wall. Well, she would just let them know who the head horse was in this barn. She pretended she didn't see anything while slowly moving her body so she could kick if they tried to get near the grain bucket. She listened . . . and listened . . . and kicked!

"OW! Dag nab it Georgia! That's me back here you knucklehead!" said dad as he rubbed his leg, slapped her back side, and took the bucket away.

She whirled around expecting to see one of her siblings in the barn, but it was just her and dad. Oops. "Oh, hi dad. Ummm, I was kicking at a pesky fly?" she whinnied as he rubbed his leg and slapped her backside again.

"Knuckle headed horse . . . I let you get the last bite of grain and you kick me . . . I ought to . . . give me that bucket. I'm going to make you watch while I feed that last bite to somebody else . . . Mister, come here boy. Your piggish sister missed a bite but kicked me. Let's see if you can do better . . . ."

Dad put the buckets away and locked the grain room for the night. She decided she needed to make up to dad. He still seemed miffed at her . . . even though it was a simple mistake; she hadn't meant to hurt him; she just wanted . . ..

"Umm, dad? I'm sorry dad. Do you still love me?"

"Come here girl," he said as he reached for her, rubbing her neck and finger combing her mane. "Sometimes I think you are more trouble that you are worth, but I do love you. Did you have to kick so hard? I'm going to have to go soak this leg."

He continued talking as he moved through the corral. She walked by his side. He stopped, reached up and hugged her before he slipped through the fence and limped toward the house.

Sometimes I suspect God feels the same way about us. We work so hard at guarding and protecting what is ours that in the process we forget about sharing and end up hurting the one who loves us enough to provide for us in the first place. Instead of trusting that God will provide, we fight others in need off so that we don't lose what is ours. When what is "ours" is provided by God as we have need.

God may not provide every desire of our hearts. However God provides what is for our best. Sometimes, God provides through the love, generosity, and obedience of others. Sometimes, God provides through us . . . through what we have.

God, forgive us when we are selfish. Forgive us when in our short-sightedness we kick at you when all you are doing is loving us and abiding with us. Help us God to let go of our abundance and share with our brothers and sisters. Teach us to love as you love and to accept that no everyone is going to love us back. So be it. Amen.

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From My Heart to Yours
Rayla Stewart Hogue
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Rayla Stewart Hogue is a native of Dexter. She is a wife, mother, and minister of the UCC (United Church of Christ). She seeks to recognize and embrace the unending hues of God's ethne and religion, and commits herself to living and expressing this inclusive diversity through Sacrament and the spoken, written, and sung Word of God.
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