Many years ago, when we were living in Tennessee, we had a small farm in the hills.
It was on the back of a back road that led nowhere. We had a small pasture area next to the house and we thought it would be a good idea to raise our own beef.
Although we had been around farming all our lives, we did not have personal experience with every aspect of farming, especially with the unique nature of raising beef.
We bought a 900-pound cow and had it delivered to us. The price was right, and after all, once the animal goes to the processing plant, who cares whether it is a cow or a steer. The plan was to keep it for a couple of months, feeding it corn and sweet feed, then take it be processed.
The pasture was well-fenced, and we provided plenty of food and clean water. The day after she came to live with us, I was standing at my kitchen window having a glass of iced tea, thinking about how satisfying it is to raise our own meat. Just then I looked out the window facing the pasture and realized I didn’t see the cow out there.
I then looked out the front window and saw my cow walking down the road. I thought to myself, “those boys have left the gate open, now I have to chase the cow and bring her back”.
When I went out to the pasture gate, I found it closed. In fact, the boys were not even home, so something else had happened. Later in the day when I checked the fence, I found no gaps or breaks at all. I was later informed that cows have the ability to jump the fence, even at 900-pounds; who knew?
Meanwhile, I went to retrieve my cow from the road trip she had started. I took a bucket of feed and she would stop and stick her head in the bucket, but when I picked the bucket up, she would begin walking down the road again, rather than follow me home.
This went on for a while, until I tried to frighten her into turning around and going home, but that didn’t work either. It turns-out she was going to the farm next door to be with other cows, because she had always been with a herd, until she came to our farm.
I guess we humans are pretty much the same; we need each other. There is something about visiting, or as we Christians call it, fellowshipping together. We share stories, offer support, build community; basically, we build relationships.
These are the relationships that help us understand each other and work together for stronger families and communities. This world needs more healthy relationships. Let us break bread together.
Rev. Dr. David Bridges is the pastor at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Grove. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.