This week, I have felt like going to the ranch. You are probably wondering what does that mean? Well, my family has a cattle ranch. The property has been ours for over one hundred years. We have always had Santa Gertrudis cattle, the cattle of the famous south Texas King Ranch. I grew up going to the ranch with my dad and brother. My mom and sister went with us occasionally, but for the most part this was something that I shared with the men of my life, grandpa too.
We spent many summer days working out there. Well, that is what we called it, but most of it was play. I learned to drive a tractor and then a truck out on that property. I learned how to shoot a gun, and go jack rabbit hunting. I learned that when Juan, our ranch hand, agreed with my dad, that I just NEEDED to go lift the lid on THAT barrel, it meant the bottom of the barrel was filled with live rattlesnakes. (Juan use to catch them and sell them for their venom.) I also learned how to haul hay, back when we used square bales. I was never great at lifting them, but I gave it my best. I also know what cow feed tastes like, what being kicked by a calf feels like, and what being covered in dust and cow crap is like.
My favorite ranch story includes my dad and Juan again. We went out to check on a heifer that had been sick, and to give her a quick shot. Earlier that week, we had another animal that was bit by a snake and died in the same pasture. That animal was now a feast for the buzzards. Buzzards are really nasty birds up close. As we left the pasture there were a few buzzards parked in a tree. As we drove by, at the last minute one of the birds decided to fly away. Buzzards are big, and slow, that is when the SPLAT happened. Now initially I thought that we had hit and killed the bird with the truck, because there were guts that had flown in through the open windows. However, we quickly realized, as my dad’s arm and shirt were covered not with bird guts, but bird poop. As much as I was ok with a little dirt, there are some things that make a girl draw the line. Buzzard poop is one of those things, it was nasty! As I am having my teenage girl freak out, yucky moment, my dad looks at me and says, “Mirm….Mirm (my nickname) did you know that buzzard’s poop maggots. That is what they eat!” This made him and Juan laugh pretty hard while I grossed out a little more. Needless to say, I actually sprayed my dad with Lysol and we drove home windows down, because the smell was so bad. He got the first shower that night. After that Juan used to laugh and tease me saying, “Mirandita, Cuidado con los pajaros!” (Little Miranda, watch out for the birds.)
What I really mean when I say I want to go to the ranch is that I am a little home sick. The constant hustle and bustle of life make things loud and sometimes out of focus. There is no better place to talk to God than the ranch. The ranch is the place I know as one of God’s great creations. I know that ranch land in South Texas may not be as beautiful as say, the mountains of Colorado, or the forests of Alaska, but it is still an amazing creation. The ranch is a symbol for a place to go where you hear only the buzz of the bugs, the wind in the grass, and the melodies of the cows mooing in the pasture. It is a place where you can sit on a tractor for hours and talk to God about your life. It is a place where it is possible that the stillness and quiet can offer the opportunity to hear the voice of God.
All of this struck me during Bible study this morning, as we studied the life of King David, and his anointing. King David had many wonderful characteristics the Bible calls him, “a man after God’s own heart.” The discussion we had this morning was about King David’s commitment to prayer, to waiting on God, and to listening for God’s answers. I thought where is my “ranch?” Then the speaker pointed something amazing out. Many times as David was praying and listening for God he was in the middle of a war, or running from some one trying to attack him. Now, I can relate to that! I think it is great to have a quiet place to get away, but what am I doing when there is no quiet time? What does my prayer life look like when I am swallowed up by life? My "AHA" moment, there is no perfect quiet time. If King David and God can have a prayer conversation in the midst of the war, why can’t I have one with the washing machine and dishwasher running? The best take away from today’s Bible study, “God does not want perfect women, he wants women who are seeking him with their whole heart.” I think sometimes I get caught in a legalistic thinking of these things, when the bottom line is relationship.
This week, I am going to try to bring “the ranch” into my everyday, but instead of the hum of bugs and moos of cows, I will embrace the sounds of the dishwasher, washing machine, shower, or worse the water running in the sink preparing to mop, and make it all time to talk to the Lord.