Sometimes too much time can go by and every passing minute and every passing hour and every passing day… hope gets smaller and smaller.
So when the sow labored in vain and our prayers weren’t answered the way we wanted them to be, the hope got small and the tension got big.
She tired and she weakened and try as she might, she just couldn’t get the job done.
And when the body doesn’t do what we want it to…and people we love disappoint…and when stress levels heighten… and finances cause strain…and when the unexpected hits…or when disease overcomes…or children break your heart…or prayers aren’t answered the way we hoped…and the world is just too much…
don’t we weaken and tire?
And try as we may, doesn’t it seem like sometimes we just can’t get the job done?
And then time just becomes still with hope too short and it all has just gone on too long…
We let her labor all day Tuesday and that sweet gal just gave us her friendly new-mama self and she walked and she shifted and she grunted when we’d encourage her and she’d tilt her rounded belly toward us to give my girl better access to both rows of colostrum founts.
A friend walked the hard and long with us on up til dinner time, cancelling gymnastics for all six of her babies to bring them over to play so she could go elbow deep into mess with us and try to help us find life.
She told us we’d know when it’d been too long.
We would know.
When this world is gross and messy and futile and straining, isn’t there someone who needs us to go elbow deep into their mess? Who needs us to help them find signs of life?
This was the second sow my daughter had troubles with in her new pig-farming venture. We’d already seen our lot of loss on the farm for the spring.
We hoped this one would be just like God and nature intended.
We prayed. We helped. We encouraged.
We trekked the snowy trail a hundred times in the dark.
Wednesday morning we knew.
It’d been too long and we needed to go after life and if we were going to find it, there had to be a death.
We trekked the snowy trail one last time and my husband sent her humanely into eternity and together we all went after life.
We never lost hope and we worked and we prayed and we encouraged.
But there was a huge loss.
It had just been too long.
We gave it all we had but soon it was too long again and we knew it was time to stop striving after death, and when we were done focusing on death, we were left with one life.
She named him Sean, and I don’t know where you are in your mess of life…
if you’re just starting to strain or if nothing seems to fit or if you’re at death’s door or if you’ve just plain lost hope in the labor.
But what we’ve learned from one bitty pig named Sean is that as long as there is breath in the lungs, there is life… and when there is life, there is hope.
Sometimes nature doesn’t work in our favor, and sometimes God gives and sometimes He takes away and death will come for every one of us sooner than we ever want it to.
But when we turn from death and we focus on life, there is joy and there is faith and there is love.
And when we push and strain and labor and strive to focus on those…we’ll find the gift of life amidst all the death…
and it won’t ever be too long.
As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. Psalm 71:14