Sheep are creatures of prey. Although the sight of our companion dogs near their fence may cause a stomp or two, their flight response is generally stronger than their fight. Their survival depends on being skeptical about all things. I understand this and I do see it when my flock is faced with visitors but, to me, they are settled and friendly.
The barn is the first place that I go when I arrive home from work. The responsibility to provide feed, water and clean shelter is forefront in my mind. Over the last year I have pondered, though, just why my priority is to the flock first and not to my household. The answer is very simple but it wasn't immediately obvious to me. It makes me feel good. Rather, it makes me a better person. No, I don't care for housework or indoor chores but avoiding that is not the feel-good feeling that I am speaking of. It is more visceral. Once the sheep have been fed and the water has been topped off I find a nice corner in the barn, just out of the way, and sit down and rest. The feeling that I get when I have taken care of the flock's immediate needs is a peace that can't be explained unless you have sat in a quiet barn listening to the sound of contented sheep feeding. Once they have had their fill of fresh hay is when the magic really happens. These woolly, pessimistic, skeptics begin to let their guard down and settle down around me. Some come close for a scratch on the chest, on top of the shoulders or behind the ears. Some come close to my ear chewing their cud as if to let me know that they truly feel safe. Some will even paw at me when I take a break from scratches or turn my attention to another individual. It is when, in an act of complete and utter trust, the sheep begin to lay down next to me and I begin to see myself as they see me.
In order to earn the trust of an animal that feels their life may be in danger a great deal of the time, you must be patient, kind, gentle, caring, loving. It is in these moments, resting in the straw, that I must relax and let go of all the negativity. I must slow down, breathe, and just be in the moment. This is my opportunity to become who I really want to be. The person that I am deep down when I am not angry, bitter, frightened and skeptical of the world around me. The sheep force me to let go of all of those things that keep me from being the person that I was created to be. The sheep bring me closer to the One that can renew and restore my heart.
Those same qualities that allow the flock to feel safe in my presence, patience, kindness, gentleness, love are the qualities that have been placed in my heart with my trust in Jesus. I can truly appreciate the symbol of Jesus as the Shepherd. Those same qualities that bring me closer to my flock also bring me closer to Him.
This is the reason that the barn is the first place I go when I arrive home from my day away. It is the woman that returns home from the barn, renewed by her flock, that can try to be the best mom and wife.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22
I have always enjoyed the outdoors, the quiet, the excitement, the colors, the varieties of landscapes and animals and vegetation. I finished college with plans of heading west and working with wildlife and research. Plans changed and I began to work in veterinary medicine. This became my passion and I spent 10 years working at a large animal hospital in the NICU and ICU. Our young family decided to move after that and I spent a couple years with my little ones. Feeling the need to get back into work, I found a home in small animal veterinary medicine. 11 years later I am a licensed veterinary technician and a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner. I work full-time in a pain and rehabilitation center and it is a career that I am extremely passionate about.