Life lessons from a cow

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By Kenny Mitchell


Monday was a tough day.

It had already been a very long night for so many as people tried to dig out from the aftermath of another tornado in DeKalb. There were a lot of folks who didn’t sleep much Sunday night.

When the sun came up Monday morning it got even more real as you could see the vastness of the damage and it immediately hit you that there were people, people you know, who had lost their homes and their livelihoods. Some lost family pets. Some lost cars. Some lost their peace of mind.

Riding around, doing my job, taking pictures, it was hard not to be overwhelmed by it all. Then, as I drove down Spook Road, I saw a cow. To the casual eye this was just a cow. She was sitting down in the grass of her field, chewing her cud, and seemed perfectly content. What immediately struck me was that not ten feet away from her the fence line was down on the ground and she was seemingly free to go anywhere she wanted to go. But, there she sat, chewing.

The scene struck me so odd I took a picture of the cow. So, on the camera, with a couple hundred storm damage pictures, there is a couple of a cow sitting in a field.

It was such a benign scene amidst all of the rubble and carnage left behind by the twister, but it intrigued me so much that next came a social media post about the cow. That is when, as they say, the cow patty hit the fan.

Just a few minutes after the Facebook post, my buddy Kyle Barrett commented on it, telling me that he knew this particular cow and he knew her story. So, I called him, and here is the rest of the story.

And this is where it might mess with your head.

See to me, this was just a cow sitting in a field, seemingly content not to leave the confines of the fence. In fact, the cow was sitting there, unmoving, because during the storm Sunday night she had been tossed by the twister and had a broken leg. In fact, not too long after her picture was taken, she had to be put down. Not only that, but three of her field mates didn’t fare as well as she did and were killed by the storm itself.

What started out as a semi-humorous scene had in my mind now become one of sadness and one that has since evoked much deep thought.

That serene cow sitting in a field has become a teaching lesson. Don’t let me lose you here, I am fully aware that cows aren’t human with the same emotions and thoughts, but there is something to learn I think from a cow that was tossed by a twister, has a broken leg, can’t get up and walk, yet she isn’t belly achin’ or squalling for mama, or looking for a lawyer to sue Mother Nature. She isn’t starting a Go FundMe to raise money for her broken leg or even howling at the moon for someone to rescue her from her plight. Nope, this cow knows she is in a pickle, but she is content to chew her cud and see what happens next. She knows at some point a higher power is going to come along and do something.

It could be that a lack of sleep is factoring into my story here, but maybe this cow can teach us all a lesson. Is it possible that we, when faced with the aftermath of life’s storms, could do a little more cud chewing and be a little more serene instead of pitching a fit and looking for somebody to blame? Could we be happier on our given side of the fence and not spend so much time looking for greener pastures?

I am also willing to bet that my friend Andrea Barfield, the greatest cow lover I know, would tell you that cows might know a little more than we give them credit for and this particular cow was a good example of how we should live.

We whine too much, and let me tell you this, it ain’t just the millennials. We as a people complain, gripe, and bemoan our fate way too loudly, when we should spend more time being content and waiting for the master to do something.

Let me add that despite all of the damage Sunday night, there has been no moaning and whining coming from the people of DeKalb. Instead there has been a community rallying around its neighbors. A restaurant opened its doors to feed those out serving others. Folks gathered for community prayer. People have offered their services for free.  As it always does, the people have put aside their differences, if only temporarily, to help their fellow man.

Call me crazy, but I learned a lesson from a cow. You might even say, I was mooooved.


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