Kiki is another of my many teachers. Whenever I visit Kiki and her fellow travelers, she shows qualities I hope to display.
Kiki is a cow.
It seems like Kiki knows it will all be okay. She seems to be thankful for what’s already near rather than rushing for what other members of the herd are chewing.
I’ve learned about the world of cows, and about life, from Kiki. From my view as an observer, Kiki seemed calm and content. Rather than pushing for more, she takes what’s there and calmly continues her role of nourishment for herself and her calf, never overreacting or neglecting what’s necessary.
She’s found a balance. She’s shown equilibrium on an uneven pasture and an aggressive drove.
My times with Kiki have taught me to be thankful. Rather than wanting more and newer and bigger and better, to moo a “thank you” and calmly chew a sweet feed of coarse hay. Instead of demanding my preferred place, to accept my place and serve those I should mother. Kiki prompted me to look around and be thankful for blessings I might not notice if I’d stayed on the rapid road of hurry.
I never expected to become such close friends with a cow. But I am. I’m thankful for Kiki.
And I am Kiki’s grateful acquaintance because of another friend. He’s taught me about cows and pastures, about a sun setting for another evening and a friend caring for another friend, about finding an equilibrium of calmness when the world seems totally out of balance.
Bill Parten owns the cows. He knows everything that needs to be known about them. And he’s teaching me about feeding them, protecting them, and living a life of thankfulness.
We occasionally meet for an hour or two to feed the cows. He drives an all-terrain vehicle—which he calls a doodle bug and I never remember what to call it—through the pasture. I ride with him, only driving when he needs me to.
Our rides through the pastures usually end on a hill. Bill knows I love a view.
We listen. We sit. We pray. And we talk.
Who are those you choose to spend time with in your hurried schedules? Do you laugh with them? Cry with them? What do they bring to your story? What do you bring to their stories? How are you helping each other grow closer to Jesus? How are you helping each other find better equilibrium?
Find a Kiki. Find a Bill.
In a world of negativity and complaints, more of us should sit in a doodle bug on a hill and notice the good around us. With Kiki and with Bill, I’m still learning to give thanks and make that happen.
Give thanks alone.
Start when you wake up. Begin the day by mentally and spiritually giving thanks for good things around you.
Give thanks in groups.
Continue that mood when in groups. Be sincere as you say these two important words, “Thank you.” Mean what you state and sing during times of praise.
Give thanks regularly, no matter how you feel.
I’m not asking you to lie. I want you to offer thanks sincerely. But I also don’t want you to wait until you feel like giving thanks. It is a choice you make. Give thanks often, no matter what the situation or the weather or the emotions tell you to do.
Chris Maxwell is a husband, father, and grandfather. He is a writer, pastor, poet, spiritual life director, international speaker, and a man who loves people. Chris hopes to be a voice of encouragement through words spoken, words written, and a life lived.