Rusty Wire and Bubble Gum

August 25th, 2013 by admin

We own a sheep and goat ranch.  My husband grew up with this place in Texas just south of the Hill Country.  When my father-in-law owned it he regularly ran about 100 head of livestock at any given time, even though it was his avocation rather than his vocation.

I, too, grew up with my grandparents’ dairy farm so ranch/farm life isn’t foreign to me.  And I know what work it is to keep a big place going.  There are miles of fence that somehow always need repair.  Livestock always tended to want something just on the outside of the fence which accounted for horns pulling wire loose.  And coyotes on the outside seemed to find ways to dig under our precious boundaries.

rusty wire gate       It was the main gate to the goat pen that I was particularly drawn to.   To open the gate I had to pull rusty wire from the top and side simultaneously lifting it underneath with my foot.  You had to be quick because goats are curious and they figure, justifiably, you’re there with corn.  I swear that gate even had some bubble gum in the hinges…and I know duct tape was involved at one time.

I think I like the old gate because it reminds me of some seasons of my life.  Times when I had a job to do but I felt propped up, held together by rusty wire, not sure I was even properly hinged.  But I still tried desperately to look the part.  Put on that smile, keep showing up, all the while I was dying inside.  I wanted to be useful, I really did.  I needed my purpose, but I was so tired from the struggle, so beaten down.  That old gate, like me, had a story to tell.  Some of the story is about neglect, from days when time or money or support was scarce.  Some of the story is about surviving storms and predators and even some abuse.

Every semester our support groups come together a little like that old gate.  But now we’re taking the time to heal, to be re-purposed if you will.  People who have buried a loved one and are moving so slowly with what seems like a never ending grief.  People who experienced a church or a church leader who destroyed their trust.  People who were damaged by an offender and need to forgive and move on but don’t know if they can or even where to begin.  People who were abused or neglected in childhood and even though they think it was so far in the past realize that it is still affecting their lives.

Our gate got an overhaul.  It’s the same gate, but now it stands proudly and opens and closes with ease.  You can too.  There is healing to be found with a caring group of people that God brings together in this Heart2Heart ministry.  Hopefully you’ll find you can understand the rusty wire, even accept the bubble gum, but maybe come out re-purposed like my old gate.


© Marla Rushing

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