Years ago, a farmer had an old mule. The mule's name was Ned.
For over 20 years, Ned had helped the farmer put in his crops, but now Ned was old and almost blind.
One day, one of the farmer's sons came running into the house. "Dad! Dad!" he yelled. "Ned has fallen into the old, abandoned well out back" What are we going to do?"
Dad and the boys ran to the well and surveyed the situation. Alas, it seemed there was no way to get the old mule out of the hold. The farmer told his sons, "We will just bury old Ned right here. After all, he is almost dead, and this hold needs to be filled up. We will kill two birds with one shot. Boys, go get the shovels."
Soon the boys were back, and they began to shovel dirt down onto old Ned. When the first dirt hit Ned's shoulder, it startled the old mule. He simply shook his shoulders as much as he could in his narrow confines. As each shovel full rained down, old Ned would shake off the dirt and step on it. Shovel after shovel of dirt came down on Ned, but he just kept shaking it off and packing it down with his hooves. Pretty soon, the well was almost full, and old Ned simply stepped up out of the the well to the safety off the ground. What was supposed to have buried him became his path to life and freedom.
As the dirt of situations and circumstances of life try to bury you, maybe we can follow the example of old Ned. Just shake it off and step up!
Have you ever wondered....
Why do we press harder on a remote when we know the batteries are getting dead?
Why do banks charge a fee on "insufficient funds" when they know there is not enough money?
Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?
Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?
Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?
Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?
Whose idea it was to put an "S" in the word "lisp"?
If people evolved from apes, why are there still apes?
Why is it that no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?
Is there ever a day when mattresses are not on sale?
Why is it that no plastic bag will open from the end on your first try?
Why it is that whenever you attempt to catch something that's falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?
These are my favorite(probably because I have done them so often!!)
Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new will have materialized?
Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down , pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?
I hope, like me, you are smiling because you have done a few of these yourself!!
This story came from a literature text book I read in high school. The message was so powerful and it has stayed with me all these years. I hope it is a blessing to you as well.
Visitors to the State Capitol at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, will find on its walls a magnificent set of murals painted by Violet Oakley, a Philadelphia artist. Most of the pictures portray well-known dramatic events and persons renowned in American history. But the most startling, just inside the door of the Senate chamber, is the picture of a humble pioneer couple at a critical moment in their lives.
John and Mary were young parents who lived far out beyond the white settlement at the edge of the forest. They lived by what was considered a peculiar religion. Among their unusual practices was one of leaving the latchstring outside so that anyone could enter their cabin without knocking.
Wooden latches like theirs may still be seen on crude buildings. A heavy bar on the inside fitted into a wooden notch and fastened the door. To this bar was attached a leather thong called the latchstring. This thong was passed through a hold in the door so that anyone wishing to enter could raise the bar and unlock the door by pulling down on the string. It was the usual custom to draw the latchstring inside at night so that no one could enter without knocking. John and Mary, however, left their latchstring hanging outside by night as well as by day.
There came a night when they pulled it inside for awhile. This is the night shown in the picture. That afternoon a messenger had come riding with dreadful news - Indians were on the warpath! They were painting their faces and making gruesome preparations; that night they would be out in earnest. The young parents could not possibly reach the fort by nightfall with their children; they had to stay.
"Well, then," urged the messenger, "at least when you go to bed pull in that string, so that the red men will not be able to walk right in while you are asleep."
He rode away through the forest, and John and Mary faced the night.
They held family worship as usual and as usual sent the children into the loft to bed. After talking over the danger, they decided that "just this once" the latchstring should be pulled inside. They barred the door and lay down in their bed by the fire. But sleep would not come. In their minds that bar meant a denial of their faith. They had committed themselves to the LORD tonight as on other nights. The father arose and put the string outside as usual. Then they went to sleep.
At dawn they were awakened. Someone was stealthily pulling on the latchstring, for the bar was slowly rising. As they watched, the door swung open, and there in the doorway stood six painted Indians, armed with tomahawks and scalping knives.
It is this dreadful moment that the artist has chosen for the mural. There are the pale and terrified parents, the hesitant Indians. The artist has added, above, a great angel with hands outspred over the defenseless heads. It was a dreaful moment, but only a moment. The door swung to again, and the Indians went so quickly and so silently away that their presence seemed only a dream.
But it was not a dream, for that morning found white homes in ruins all up and down the valley and the Indians escaping to their hills. Only John and Mary and their children, of all the white people in that valley, were left unharmed.
The Indians had known for a long time about the peculiar people whose latchstring hung outside. They knew that at such homes an Indian was not an inferior beast, but a brother. At any time he might go in, tired and cold and hungry, to rest by the fire and share the family meal. Such homes were precious to the Indians, and they wanted them to remain. As Indian who was later captured said that if they door had been fastened against them, John and Mary would have died that night with the other settlers.
This verse comes to mind when I read this story:
I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8
I am just an ordinary girl who is loved by an extraordinary God and I seek to love others the same way. I love to bake, read, do puzzles, watch Hallmark movies, and go shopping with my mom! This blog was created as a place where I could share some thoughts that the Lord has shown me and to be an encouragement to others who desire to know Him in a deeper way. My prayer is to learn to sit still and trust God with my future.
Love Jane Austen? Looking for a unique gift for those special people in your life? Visit Return to Innocence Era and take a step back in time when the simple things were still valued.