The shearer came yesterday to relieve the overburdened sheep of their four inches of very warm wool. It’s been pretty hot for weeks, so they should have been glad to be shorn, but since it involves being torn one by one from their safe place in the barn and wrestled out the door to God knows what, they were not. Roger was gone by 8 a.m., but the sheep bawled for the next hour until I left the property for a wedding, and when I returned at 5, they were still bawling. I went back out and came back home, and at 7:30 p.m., they were still out in the barnyard, yelling their heads off. Finally it occurred to me that they sounded hungry, so I went out and walked down the barnyard with them and stood still at the bottom and let them bunch up around me. After a few minutes of butting and jostling, they settled down and began to eat ravenously. It would appear that all day long, they had been too frightened and unsettled to risk lowering their heads to graze.
It got dark as I stood there, letting the sheep eat and singing that Sweet Honey in the Rock song about King David playing his harp for his sheep, and the fireflies and the lighting started to come up in and above the orchard. And I developed a new appreciation then for the twenty-third psalm:
The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters;
He restoreth my soul.
I’m afraid a lot of the Bible is thrown away on folks nowadays, not because we’re all corrupt and going to hell, but because we mostly don’t have sheep. Until you have made it possible for someone to go to bed with a full stomach merely because your presence makes them feel safe enough to eat, it is hard to appreciate how nice it would be to feel that way about somebody else looking after you. But lately I’ve been thinking that getting all bent out of shape about life doesn’t seem to be making a lot of difference, just losing me sleep, so maybe my new attitude should be, “Screw it. The Lord is my shepherd.”