As David was gathering his “Mighty Men” there was a group of warriors who showed up. These 200 chiefs came with their relatives and are […]
Written by: Mark Eaton< Back to Articles
Our cattle working pens are built for big ole’ full grown mama cows. Any of our handsome herd below 700 lbs. can get hurt and the cowboys can get frustrated if we run them through. As it turns out, we let a few calves get pretty big before we finally got to tag, brand, spray, give shots and make the bulls into steers.
As you might guess…we had to ‘drag’ to the branding. Now, on another day we might have snugged them up in the chutes, but on this day, we had a couple of cowboys and a herd of enthusiastic visitors. It was bound to get Western.
The cowboy on horseback roped the hind legs and the rest of us bum-rushed the now feisty bovines. My job was to get the head and hold on. Keep in mind I weigh a “buck ’90” and a few months past 65 yrs old. Clearly this is not the ideal situation for this non-cowboy mountain climber. But no way was I going to miss this action! No giving shots or standing clear with the fly spray. Nope. Live large and get in the fight. Perfect. Rolled my sleeves up and spit on my hands. Let’s get this rodeo going!
Cracked ribs are not something I like having. Breathing is a bit of a problem, and the soreness keeps me awake if I try to sleep on that side.
Anyway, we got it done. Understand now, that I’m on my fourth lifetime at this point and I fully intend on squeezing in a few more. So this cracked rib situation prompted a few thoughts:
1. Each life has looked different than the one before. Each has taught the next a few bits of wisdom and left a few scars.
2. Each step has mistakes, grace, shame, beauty, fear and courage. Yep.
3. Each iteration has redemption, joy, growth and humbling. Done them all.
4. Each day has opportunities to make a situation better or worse. I have chosen both.
5. Each window of time has a ripple effect in others’ lives. Most I am proud of and some I am not.
It has been said that we only live once. A truer saying is that we only die once…we live every day. So many my age, and decades younger even, are busy dying every day instead of living. They, unconsciously or otherwise, have taken their foot off the gas and are beginning to pay homage to the seduction of ease and comfort. I do not want to be among them. See if my thoughts below resonate with you:
1. I do not fear death. What I fear is not living.
2. I want to go as hard as I can healthily sustain, for as long as I can, do as much good as I can, for as many as I can.
3. I want to learn how to gracefully go into the next stage with as much dignity as I can muster.
4. I want to be authentically peaceful, with no subterranean traces of youthful rage, competition and ego posturing.
5. I want to be awake and not sleepwalk through my days.
6. I hope to live fully connected with each of my children with nothing left to say and nothing left undone.
7. I hope to keep the adventures going and if I crack a few ribs along the way so be it. The photos will not have me in a “lazy boy” until the very end or sickness takes me there.
8. I hope my fights will be more for the hearts of my loved ones and less for the shallow satiation of my small pride.
9. I want to talk less and say more.
10. I want Susie to feel loved way beyond what her adolescent dreams imagined.
11. I want to not play-it-safe with her or with life. But rather to risk and be all in.
There will be ‘cracked ribs’ along the way. They will speak not about the scars of false glory. But hopefully about the bonding with friends, the solid conversations about real things, the chance to encourage others, the opportunity to love wildly and to walk with God in a deep abiding faith.
So, I make this pledge to my good readers: I will do my rib-cracking best to live up to the words above.
“Every man dies, not every man truly lives.” William Wallace from the movie “Braveheart.”
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Hellen Keller
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as if you were working for the Lord…” Paul’s letter to the Colossians.