New Testament parables were meant to be understood by the people of their times. Seed and soil, fruit and tree, sheep and shepherd, you didn’t have to be educated to immediately understand. When I’m a kid my dad does a version of a parable, the mule versus the horse.
He’d grown up country, before tractors. If you were riding to town, he said, you wanted the horse, but if you were plowing a wet field, you wanted mules on the pulling end. The horse was faster, but the mule was last-er.
He threw that at me when I was young, and discouraged about something that was taking too long to happen. I was doing it the horse way, ears back and go-go-go, first one there wins… but my goal wasn’t something you got with speed, but with perseverance.
That parable served me well this year. 2020 was a year to be a mule.
Like Breaking Rocks
I closed my store, summer of 2019, to get serious about writing. I allowed myself the remaining months of 2019 to refuel – and boy did I need it.
2020 would be the year of many words and big doings.
Until 2020 turned into… 2020…
This was a hard year. Period. For all of us.
Writing this year was like breaking rocks. But I wrote anyway. Type, type, type, like a mule pulling a middle buster through gumbo dirt.
Part of it was me being me, because I’ve learned to have faith in the mule way. Most of the good stuff in life, you gotta chop wood and feed the fireplace, long before the house gets warm.
Another part was me trusting God. For a guy who once had no faith, I’m not saying I’m now Mr. Solid, but I’m solid in some serious places. One of those places is Purpose. That I exist has cost God some consequences, but I’m still here, so He must approve. I live on the assumption that you and I are not just living, but living for some purpose. Maybe the most important stuff is up ahead. I came equipped with the certain raw talents, writer eye, writer mind. When I’m using those tools, I can almost feel my Father smiling. It’s as church as church gets.
The Year Of The Mule
Like most of you, I was disoriented in 2020. I don’t know where much of the year went, but it sure went.
The back-to-back hurricanes hurt my heart worse than my roof. I couldn’t decide between being mad or sad or just plain give-up-ish.
Like you, I didn’t have a New Years resolution to take a chainsaw after the neighbor’s tree that fell on my roof. Nor did I anticipate the menial labor of pick-pick-picking up of hurricane debris.
Limbs and shingles, first the big ones, then the medium ones, then the little ones, then the little bitties… If that ain’t mule work, I don’t know what is.
We each have our story, of doing the First Thing, then the Next Thing, and then the Thing After That. Now, pushing end of the year, we resent the bad work, but we’re also kind of proud, of all the doing that we did.
The mule way, it ain’t pretty, but it’s productive.
Bread Upon The Waters
Through it all, I kept writing.
The hurricanes broke me open. All that mule stuff, it was foundational. Suddenly I had a path, and a flow.
Getting my second book done, in a year like 2020, is a kind of victory.
I don’t have the fancy website and all that, yet. If you’d like to order a copy of the new book, Bread Upon The Waters (or the first book, Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories, Volume I), email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I need: Name, Address, Quantity (of which book), and any Names if you want books personalized for gifts. Act now, if wanting for Christmas gifts.
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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is dedicated to southwest Louisiana. Look at us in early September, and look at us now. We’re tough. Yeah us!