Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chewing the Cud

She would seem to simply lay there, hour after hour, eating. To my young six-year old mind, it didn’t really seem to make any sense.

“Daddy”, I asked. “Where does Beaulah get all of her food to eat? I didn’t see her get up and get some hay, but she’s still eating. And nobody brought her any new stuff.”

“Oh, she’s just chewing her cud. All cows do that,” he replied.

I walked away, still perplexed. “What was a cud…and why did she keep chewing it,” I asked myself.

It wasn’t for quite a few years before I really gained a clear understanding of what the “cud” was and why the cows on our dairy farm always seemed to be chewing on it. The short story is that cows eat grass and hay that contain materials that they can’t easily digest. As a result, they will swallow the food and then regurgitate the material back up and in the process be able to slowly digest the food.

I’ve thought about this process of “chewing the cud” lately as I’ve been working to write my book. It isn’t coming easily…and part of the reason is that I don’t yet have everything processed in my mind. And it seems that if I try to force it, I’m not discovering the richness of everything that needs to be in the story.

There are some who believe that it is foolish to keep bringing up my past memories. They say that it is better to either simply forget or to only focus on the positive. But I want more than that. I want to know the richness of my entire life…of all of my life experiences. I want to know why I am who I’ve become. I want to be able to share the impact of my life with others who face the same struggles and difficulties that I have…and do. Like the cows of my childhood chewing their cuds to receive the maximum nutrient from their food, I need to wait patiently chewing on my memories…allowing them to be regurgitated. And then chew on them some more...discovering my whole story.

Photos from Flickr


Deb Shucka said...

I so forgot about Beulah!!!! This is one of the best metaphors I've run into for a long time. Chewing, chewing, chewing - being willing to accept what comes up for rumination each time and trusting what gets made of it. Love this.

I think if the fall works out the way you want, you should seriously consider coming here next summer. It will change you as a writer, guaranteed. I'd come with you if that would help - I'm that thoughtful as a sister.

Loren said...

I'm with you.....

I disagree that we should forget our past or focus on the positive. I have learned so much by going back and allowing the good and the bad of my past to teach me. I know more of who I am, as well as who those I loved were. My parents, My grandparents. For me, seeing them through the eyes of the past, My hurts or pain towards them somehow diminished. I gained compassion. God helped me walk through the fire for sure!

I had one situation that I walked through the for 2 years before I got to the very root that showed me the Lord was there with me and honestly It was the most amazing moment. I was sooo tired of bringing up that situation thinking to myself "for goodness sake ~ move on!" but the Lord continued to show me until I was able to see HIM and WOW what a healing it was! I am forever changed!

So keep chewing my friend....chew chew chew !

Have a blessed weekend