It’s been three years since we first saw her on that memorable day. She had the same beautiful head and tail as all the others in her herd, but something was different. She didn’t move with the grace of the others, bounding effortlessly across the pasture. She had a bit of a hobble it seemed. Turning toward us, she revealed the hitch, her shoulder bone protruding from her hide. Her flesh was torn and bleeding, she could barely keep up with the others.
Bewildered and troubled by what we felt was her certain fate we began to look for opportunities to end her misery. She made regular appearances over the following few weeks but somehow never quite presented the opportunity we were looking for; or perhaps if the truth were fully told, we weren’t really looking all that hard. Each time we saw her we were increasingly amazed, becoming more and more enamored with her ability to survive in the face of such adversity.
Years have passed and occasionally this doe will pop in to pay a visit to our small farm. Catching a photo of her shoulder the other day, where her scar is still visible, was a delight. She frolics with her herd mates with unmatched elegance these days, seeming to have made a full recovery.
Her scar brings to mind four principles of life:
1. The sanctity of life. She was willing to fight and live through tremendous adversity, and she won. In our minds her fate was certified and we were certain she would die. She proved us dead wrong.
2. The frailty of life. Whatever had happened to this doe causing this injury, one thing is certain, it happened in an instant of time. Likely there was no warning. Our lives to are frail and can change forever in a flash.
3. The will to live is strong. Many times the will to live is stronger than we suppose. The human spirit too can overcome unthinkable troubles. We may think ourselves to be wimps, but when faced with adversity our true strength is often revealed. Our greatest accomplishments are often seen in our scars.
4. Life will eventually end. While this doe has lived to see many more days, it is certain that one day she will take her final breath, as will each of us.
I hope she continues to stop by and visit our farm as each time I see her scar I am reminded of these principles of life and am encouraged to be grateful for life, to make the most of the day, and to realize that through adversity I gain strength to carry on for whatever time remains.
Would you like to read more stories like this? Please visit my website for more Mental Morsels with Dr. Cearley. Learning life principles from the farm.