A few weeks ago, when I went to do early morning chores, I was greeted by a new momma cow. She had a set of twins during the night. One had died at birth, it appeared, and the other was dancing around the barn with the other calves. Doy’s mother, Biscuit, was obviously more concerned with eating her breakfast than feeding her calf.
As I observed them and hoped that I would see him nurse, it didn’t seem very probable. If he didn’t eat, he would die.
Luckily it was a weekend day and I had more time to problem solve. We moved the pair to a different building where Biscuit could focus solely on Doy and hopefully, he would figure it out.
When I left the farm that afternoon, it looked promising. However, two days later, when I was at the height of a terrible cold and flu, I found him completely listless, lying flat in the barn. He was still alive, but I didn’t think he would be when I went back to do chores in the afternoon.
Surprisingly, he was responsive when I returned. After some bottle feeding and some other tricks to get Biscuit’s attention, two days later he was back to running around the barn. This weekend, the pair rejoined the herd.
I’m sharing this story to illustrate hopelessness.
Let me share another story.
Johnny was sleeping soundly when suddenly awakened by his brother pounding on his blanket and shaking him. “Johnny, you lazy bum! Get out of bed and downstairs before Dad has to come up here.” Davey gets out of bed, rubs his eyes, and gets dressed. His mother sees him and tells him to go back and get another shirt because that one is all wrinkled and has a tear. “You just don’t care how you look, do you?" his mother asked.
Johnny gets to the table late and only has a piece of toast and the last swallow of milk for breakfast. He forgets his lunch and because he goes back for it, he misses his bus and has to walk to school. He’s late and after enduring a lecture from the secretary about being more responsible, he remembers he didn’t do his homework.
He thinks “Oh, well, she didn’t expect me to hand it in anyway. She doesn’t even like me.” (Remember his perception is his reality.) His teacher asks him to stay in during recess and he hurries through the assignment only to get a poor grade later.
He doesn’t get chosen for a team since he’s late and no one seems to notice him standing by the ball diamond alone.
Johnny’s have a pretty bad day and feeling pretty hopeless, it seems. But it turns out that he is excited for a club meeting he has after school because even though he just joined, it seems cool. The leader even called him by his name during the first meeting.
I share this story because again, it seemed pretty hopeless for Johnny except for one small thing. Someone had called him by name. He belonged somewhere and that made all the difference for Johnny.
Sometimes I feel hopeless, but then I remember that I belong to God and that “All things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27) Where do you find hope?
On April 27, at 7 p.m., Dr. Michelle Kreibel and I will be talking to 4-H volunteers and mentors about building relationships that create hope with our youth. If you are interested, please call the Extension office at 402-223-1384 by April 20th to register. Anyone is welcome.