May 12, 2008
The Donkey and the Farmer~ A Fable
Blue Grass Fields Pastures near Loretto KY
As I have time in the evenings I am continuing my studies in Catholic thought, and so have been reading both a novel about St Teresa of Avila
as well as her own biography "My Life
I have found this anecdotal story in one of these as well as a book of her quotations. It seems to describe the situation that I find myself in
There was a Farmer who had a donkey that didnt mind him promptly and irritated him everyday. The donkey would finally do what he wanted and he did get a lot of work and profit from the beast, but he was annoyed at the way the donkey went about things. One day, the donkey, not watching what he was doing stumbled and fell into the well. The Farmer sighed, and said, "You know, I have just about had enough of this stubborn donkey that doesnt mind me so I will just bury it in the well and be done with it" With that, as the donkey was braying its distress, he got a shovel and began to fill in the well with dirt. His three sons hearing the donkey braying and seeing the father shoveling dirt into the well came running up and asked him why he was filling in their only well and what was the donkey doing in there. The Farmer snapped "Dont ask questions about what I am doing or why, just get a shovel and start digging. I am done dealing with this disobedient donkey. So the sons got shovels and started to help their father fill in the well
The Donkey, meanwhile, had stopped braying as dirt would get into his mouth when he had it open. He closed his mouth and shrugged off the dirt and rocks the muck and mire that was being thrown on top of him. Eventually the donkey was able to pull itself up and stand on the dirt that was being shoveled down the well. With every shovel full, he shrugged it off to his feel and scrambled up. This infuriated the Farmer who yelled to his sons to work faster. By nightfall, the men were exausted and the well was filled in. The Donkey scrambled out of the now filled in well and onto the grassy yard. He ambled out of the gate and into the pasture where he began to eat his fill of the sweet grass, to rest and be ready for another day...
Of course, St Teresa was the donkey and the Inquisitors were the Farmer and his sons. For me I am the Donkey and the Father and Son that run the school are the Farmer and his sons. Its a sad situation that I find myself in, families struggling with issues not really in their control, that may be causing them to not make the most rational decisions, is a painful deal.
But I have to be the one to shrug it off. I only have 7-8 more weeks that I have paid for. I need to make the very most of this that I can. I may not be able to stay for longer even though I would pay for the time. I know that I annoy him. Like the donkey I dont seem to be able to follow the directions with the alacrity that is expected. Partially it is because I do some process and do not think it is up to standard, then backtrack and do things over again and cause the instructor to think I am not doing the steps in order. I was told by him that he doesnt do One on One instruction, but then later he said that after every step he wants to see what I am doing... The rules change and it annoys him that I cant keep up, that I messed up the timetable by being sick all of those days and that I am not the shining star that the last two long termers were. Again I find that I am in a position of disapointing. People seem to have HUGE expectations of me that I can never meet and the disapointment tends to sour the relationship forever.
I found myself avoiding him, avoiding asking questions or disturbing him. Six weeks with this unstable manic depressive recovering alcoholic has turned me back into the cringing, people pleasing over acheiver that really wants to be invisible for fear of failure and ... well... Its sick and must end. There is too much at stake and I cant believe I can shed 20 years of recovery so easily. Like I told Woody, I am likely going to need therapy when this is over... pretty amazing.
On the other hand...I have found that God is no waster of anything. Perhaps I am going to learn at long last to trust Him hourly... To leave the day behind when I walk out the studio door at 5, knowing that it really will be a new day in the morning. No grudges seem to be held and the mood swings are so wide that its a given that it will be a a different place the next day. Again its all about trusting God with the future. I can literally feel my fingers being peeled off of my future, like a childs hands being pulled off a toy or a car door handle...one finger at a time. I am struggling against the Hand that is doing that peeling off, so that He can give me something better.
I know that I am learning something that will take me a lifetime to perfect. But with what I have now...even now I can go home and start my business and make a go of it. That is very exciting. I may not get the Certification that I wanted... but I have no diplomas in anything else that I do either. I just know that when I closed my mouth, stopped crying and looked at the peices that I have worked on, the happiness of future customers who can have their treasures back to enjoy will be affirmation enough. I am just plowing a field right now, the harvest will come after the labor has been put in...I can count on it
Labels: Faith, Louisville, Quotable Quotes