by Jon Stevens
It was a busy day for Snickers, our fuzzy brown farm dog.Â Though only a terrier in size, heâ€™s a giant among dogs if you ask the ducks and chickens.Â He can not only dig holes which they can expand into dust bowls for bathing, but he also can chase away hawks and eagles.Â Even the big ones with white heads!
When the crows fly by, heâ€™s on his feet and ready to help them chase whatever has gotten their attention.Â And heaven help the bird of prey which drifts by at treetop height.Â Our alert farm dog runs barking non-stop with that special message for those pillagers which we wonâ€™t translate here as it has rather harsh words in it.Â But they understand and keep their wings set on glide.
Once he has done his duty, Snickers swings by our poultry collection and counts beaks to make sure all are safe.Â When heâ€™s got everyone accounted for, he heads to the deck where we usually are waiting with a treat for a job well done.Â While heâ€™s glad for the snack, he also is happy because he knows he is needed here.Â He has a job.Â An important one.Â And he can do it well.
It is good to be needed.Â It is good to take a few minutes and think about how honored we feel when someone asks if we can lend a hand.Â Someone knows we have the ability to help, to make a difference.Â It is not always a matter of life and death, unless they are a chicken, but it is always a matter of making life better.
Everyone needs to be needed.Â We may not show it clearly always, but the need to be needed is in the hearts of each one of us.Â Whether it is by having big families or taking in more dogs and cats than common sense would allow, there are as many ways to express this need as there are people to have it.
The flip side of that needing to be needed is the odd fact that it is hard to admit we have a need.Â It is easier to buy gifts for someone else than to tell a friend what we really needâ€¦like a job, some money for rent, food, gasâ€¦the list can go on and on.Â But the deeper needs, the ones that go beyond recreation or to help us move, those are the ones which we should be sharing with each other.
It is not easy to admit we are not perfect, that we have a flaw and by the way, brother or sister, can you help me fix it?Â It is not easy, but it is essential in every relationship which is going to be of significance that we do so.Â It is only as those kind of inner issues are shared that we can discover true freedom, true community, and true friendship.Â It is only when we are transparent that we can be seen clearly and accepted warmly.
Never easy, but always worth the risk.Â And when you do step out and share from your heart, be sure to welcome yourself to the human race.Â For when you do that, you are becoming the person your dog thinks you are.Â And that is a good thing, says Snickers.
Jon and Elaine Stevens, the life sharing farmers, Snickers the life extending dog, Mystery the long lived cat, the Parson Dudley Brown and his flock of life loving ducks, and Ben and his flock of life laughing ladies, all of whom live joyfully at The Open Gate Farm.