Goats make great teachers | Faithful Living

I’ve named them Butch and Sundance, a nod to their comradeship and propensity for getting into trouble. They are nubian goats, twin brothers, and delightful members of my family.

To be honest, I never imagined owning goats when I was a child and thought about the future. Then again, I never imagined living on an island in the Pacific Northwest, being gifted with three children, or raising them on five acres. Isn’t this the great adventure of life? If we look for ways to live creatively, stay open to new adventures and don’t allow fear to hold us back, we can discover and embrace a life previously unimagined.

I’m especially fond of Butch and Sundance because they are kind and goofy. While females in the breed are known to produce fine milk, these boys excel at eating and do a marvelous job of keeping the forest at bay. In years past I have watched my husband machete his way through the brush each spring and summer. If he didn’t, our living space out in the yard shrank at a dramatic rate. No longer is this a worry. Each day when I open the gate to their run, they bound out with enthusiasm. Prickly bushes? Spiky berries? No worries.

The first time I saw them they were just weeks old. So darling did I find them I knelt down, stroked their pendulous ears and encircled my arms around both at once to offer a hug and kiss. The breeder was rather horrified. “You’re kissing those goats!” he gasped.

I still do. It’s a ritual. I approach them, give them a quick little peck, then hurry ahead as I can be run over if I’m not fleet of foot. That’s because they are eager and energetic. But they are also kind and simply burst with enthusiasm for the impending feeding fest. I’ve learned to quicken my pace and can only imagine what it looks like as I skip around our property with them in tow. I rather like the image. I long to skip through each season of life.

They are also strong and can’t bridle the longing to taste everything on the other side of the fence. In their minds, it’s always greener. I watch them respond to the call with abandon and if tethered, they wind themselves up before hollering at me for rescue.

As you can surmise, they are my teachers. Think carefully where you are going. Aim for being systematic. Find the value in your space and be aware that plowing ahead because things always look better just out of reach can entangle your life and the lives of those who care about you.

The best lesson they teach involves devotion and connectedness. These boys are a band of brothers like no other. They cry if they can’t see each other and wouldn’t for one moment consider playing the solo act and running off. They share their food without argument and lay next to each other to chew their cud because there is comfort in being close.

What teachers! What lessons!


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