I have two stories to tell today. One about a farmer and his donkey and the other one about Jesus and the storm. You may already know about them but they are worth re-reading at this time.
One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do.
Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.
He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realised what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down.
A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.
As the farmer’s neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!
MORAL OF THE STORY
Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.
Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred – forgive
2. Free your mind from worries – most never happens
3. Live simply and appreciate what you have
4. Give more
5. Expect less from people but more from God
One day Jesus and his disciples were at sea, sailing from one shore to the other after a hard day of preaching and heeling the sick.
Tired, Jesus fell deep asleep while the disciples were discussing the events of the day, wondering how their teacher was capable of accomplishing such wonders. Suddenly a storm struck and they felt the fear of drowning. Reaching out to Jesus in his sleep, Simon Peter pleaded with him to wake up, with the words: “Master, we are drowning!”
On waking up, Jesus quietly looked at the sea, observed the storm and politely but firmly commanded it: “you storm; peace, be still.” And the storm suddenly subsided and the sea was as still as a well water. Jesus reclined to his bed and got lost in his thoughts. But it was not too long before he realized that time to sleep had gone. His disciples needed his attention.
Realizing that the disciples were now hurdled together quietly perplexed and asking who he actually was, he stood up and wondered aloud: “why do you have so little faith in me after you have seen the many miracles that I have already performed?” In other words, how long was it going to take the disciples to believe in his leadership in the direction he was taking them, in the salvation from the storms of life?
MORAL OF THE STORY
Very often God gives us the power and gift to do many things for his people but even the closest people to us may not believe the great gifts that we have. We have to always be ready to reassure them and help them in renewing the faith and trust through the storms of life from which we have to emerge with strength if we are really strong. As the popular saying goes, when the going is tough the tough get going.
Is it really possible to stand the smell of dirt and its weight for very long as ordinary human beings; or are we, in the many responsibilities that we take, mere donkeys that must survive through our instinct and wit for survival?
I remember that when we were at Makerere as students we used to call our vice chancellor the late Frank Kalimuzo as the donkey. Frank was a workaholic, and a man of great wit and courage. He decided to lead Makerere even during the Amin regime, determined to serve his people even in the thickest of all the storms in his life. In 1973 Idi Amin killed him.
It took Jesus to calm the storm; how many of us have that kind of moral authority to survive the many storms of life that face us from time to time? And they are not easy storms, nor can we tell when they are coming. So suddenly. At times too frequently. And even when they are far between one is just as frightening as the other, seeming just too close to what we have been through. Yet the tough must keep going.
(Nyong’o is the Medical Services Minister)