I was pounding away at the computer, working against the clock to finish up a test for my students on the following day. Supper was on the stove; laundry was in the washer; and a dozen other “to do’s” waited their turn in line for my attention. I could feel the tension building in my shoulders and neck and felt like any moment I’d explode wide open. Stress! I hated what it did to me and to my family, yet it was an everyday factor in our lives. When I couldn’t stand the relentless, demanding voices that were screaming inside my head any longer, I took my hands from the keyboard and folded them in prayer, “Lord, help me. Send me a word. Grant release to my strangled spirit. Hear me, O Lord.”
Eyes closed, I remained quiet for a few precious moments, trying to reestablish a saner tempo.
“Mom,” yelled Tom from the back door. “Come and see something crazy.”
“Oh, great,” I answered inwardly, “all I need is another distraction.”
Tom, a senior engineering student, was doing what he liked best—toying with his car. But there was a new twist to the familiar scene. A huge black bull, standing on our concrete driveway right next to Tom’s pride and joy, was drooling on the hood of my son’s sleek little sports car. No matter how much Tom shooed him away, the creature remained rooted to the spot, quite content to be near folks and their “toys.”
“He’s got some nerve,” Tom half-chuckled, half-complained. “I can’t get him to budge. Mom, you’ll have to call the police. If he gets on the highway there could be a serious accident. Besides that, look at his harem back there.”
Sure enough. Standing a few yards away were the bull’s counterparts—several admiring females from the herd that had apparently strayed from the adjacent farmland. They didn’t have his audacity and were quite content to take in the whole scenario from a distance. They’d move when their leader had had his fill.
As I turned to go back into the house to phone the local sheriff’s office, the bull lost interest in Tom’s Toyota and followed me right onto the patio. He even had the gall to peer into the French doors that led into the dining area of our home. “A peeping bull!” I fumed. I have no doubt that he would have followed me inside had I opened the door wide enough for his great girth. His eye, in the meantime, was scoping out all the possibilities. When he got bored with peeping, he turned his gaze to the birdfeeder. “An afternoon snack,” he must have concluded, as he positioned himself within easy reach. It took a little getting used to, but in a few minutes, the audacious bovine was curling his big pink tongue into the tiny bird-sized openings and nonchalantly crunching away at the black oil sunflower seeds. “Not bad,” his contented visage seemed to say, “not bad at all!”
By this time, I couldn’t restrain the laughter. The bull’s charisma had won me over completely. I knew he was a charmer and could understand why he had such a supportive entourage. He entertained them with his antics, daring to go where no bull had gone before. Clearly, this was a celebrity waiting to be discovered.
By the time the cops arrived, the lord and his ladies had moved on to other pastures, exhilarating, no doubt, in the excitement of new discoveries. When I returned to the unfinished tasks at hand, I was different somehow. The amusing stranger had helped me to release the tension that was strangling me and had reminded me to laugh, to delight in life, to give thanks for its unexpected little perks. I finished my test, attended to the laundry, and served up the meal. Same workload. Different attitude. God had answered my prayer. He had sent me a word in the form of one of His creatures to lighten my burden and to release me from the captivity of drudgery. And that is no bull.