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Out Our Way: The crying bull - 1 John 4:16


November 9, 2018

Out our way, Shakespeare isn’t often quoted — ’specially when pushing cattle — but I believe I may have uttered a quotation from Hamlet one day out on the Tiger Ridge. To wit: “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Something like that, at any rate

I recall Charlie and I were pushing a herd to new pasture and while he pushed the main herd, I got the “good old boys club” — the bulls that hang together after mating season. Well, they were fairly docile about it and got moving without much difficulty. Until we came to a skeleton of an old cow lying in the grass.

The cows and calves paid no heed nor did most of the bulls — but one stopped and sniffed the bones and then began wailing. He wasn’t frightened of the bones, but it seemed to me he was mourning them. Charlie thought it might be the bones of his mother. I had no idea cattle had such feelings.

Later we ran across a stray calf that had gotten separated from the herd — likely run off as calves will sometimes do — and bawled just like that bull. And from the midst of the herd came an answering bellow and a cow stood lowing at the calf who raced to her side.

On another trail drive, we came across a cow with seemingly four calves. Turns out the cows babysit for each other — one stays with the kids and the rest of the girls head to the creek for a drink and a quick graze.

Who knew cattle had such emotions and caring? Well, Charlie did, as did other rides who had worked cattle for years — but it was news to me.

Now, the scripture reminds us that God is love — and so, as a theologian, scholar, and pastor you would think I would not be surprised to discover love is not limited to human beings. If the Creator is love, should not creation also demonstrate it?

Of course, anyone with a dog or cat or horse knows that love is part of their nature. My dogs have all loved me, as have my cats — and while I am not totally sure Doc loves me or merely accepts me as the grain bucket guy, there is no question he loves Babe, his paddock mate. I have seen him take on a stallion in the next pen that dared give Babe the eye!. And such love and loyalty is not limited to mammals but there are birds and other critters that mate for life.

Remember the song “Love makes the world go round”? Seems that is not just a sentimental thought but quite likely an actual fact. If the Creator is love, then so is the creation. Indeed, from what I have been able to determine most major religions agree on that.

There are different types of love — deep friendship, family, romance and, the highest of all, selfless love. Different aspects of love but all from the same source. God is love — and it seems He has sent us signs of it all around.

Even from a crying bull.


John Bruington


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