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Apache

SEVEN ENCOURAGING SIGNS A PERSON WILL MAKE IT THROUGH THEIR SLUMP

26 January 2014 at 19:55

     My parents own a cattle ranch in the pine trees of Northern Arizona. One of the most memorable horses on the ranch through the years was a horse named Apache. Let me explain.

 

In his earlier years, Apache was raised on a ranch in New Mexico. The ranch was on a high plateau with very few trees. While there, Apache had the horrible experience of being bitten on his nose by a rattlesnake. As a result of the painful bite, Apache developed an avoidance strategy.

 

Every time Apache saw a tree limb on the ground or anything that resembled a snake, he would instantly side step. He was fast. The problem was the rider on Apache, when he thought he saw a rattlesnake, would instantly be stranded in the air four feet from where Apache had side-stepped. A rider, stranded in the air, with horse and saddle missing, is a problem. As far as I know, Apache didn’t like to share his problems with the rider, but he did anyway.

 

Apache eventually came to my parent’s ranch from New Mexico. There are fallen pine bows’ everywhere and every pine bow looked like a snake to Apache. He had never seen so many snakes. We had to inform anyone riding Apache about his avoidance strategy. You never know what is going to look like a snake to a horse with an issue…and the rider on board. Apache was in a slump.

 

There’s a lesson here. Many people are like Apache, bitten by bad stuff happening to them in life. Maybe they have had a divorce, business failure, lost their best friend or loved one. Maybe they have just lost hope in life. Like Apache, they are side stepping in life, trying to avoid ever hurting again. You can’t blame Apache. What happened to him was tough, real tough. The saying goes, “a cat that jumps onto a hot stove will never jump on a stove again.” The problem is that the cat will never jump on a cold stove either. That’s called a slump.

 

But, through the years, I have seen many Apache type of people, get out of their slump. I’ve noticed seven encouraging signs that are present when they have gotten back into circulation.

 

The first encouraging sign is they were willing to change, to do something different, and to take the first step. It takes time to do that. Second, they were willing to face the reality of what happened and accept what has happened. Third, they were willing to learn about their issues. Fourth, they were willing to reach out to others, get counseling, or join a small group with others with similar challenges. They were willing to give up being the lone ranger.

 

The fifth encouraging sign is they were willing to start replacing destructive habits, attitudes, outlooks, and thinking with constructive ones. The sixth sign is they were willing to accept that getting out of their slump will be a process, not an event. They were willing to give time…time. And finally, they were willing to let God help. They are willing to give up their self-sufficiency for God’s ability.

 

If you or someone you know has a number of those signs, be encouraged! Incidentally, Apache became the one of the best horses ever on the ranch. You see, you can teach can old horse new tricks.

 

Ed Delph    January 20, 2014

The Trench-Digger Story

This is adapted from (apparently) a true story.

An elderly couple retired to the countryside – to a small isolated cottage overlooking some rugged and rocky heathland.

One early morning the woman saw from her window a young man dressed in working clothes walking on the heath, about a hundred yards away. He was carrying a spade and a small case, and he disappeared from view behind a copse of trees.

The woman thought no more about it but around the same time the next day she saw the man again, carrying his spade and a small case, and again he disappeared behind the copse.

The woman mentioned this to her husband, who said he was probably a farmer or gamekeeper setting traps, or performing some other country practice that would be perfectly normal, and so not to worry.

However after several more sightings of the young man with the spade over the next two weeks the woman persuaded her husband to take a stroll – early, before the man tended to arrive – to the copse of trees to investigate what he was doing.

There they found a surprisingly long and deep trench, rough and uneven at one end, becoming much neater and tidier towards the other end.

“How strange,” the old lady said, “Why dig a trench here – and in such difficult rocky ground?” and her husband agreed.

Just then the young man appeared – earlier than his usual time.

“You’re early,” said the old woman, making light of their obvious curiosity, “We wondered what you were doing – and we also wondered what was in the case.”

“I’m digging a trench,” said the man, who continued, realising a bigger explanation was appropriate, “I’m actually learning how to dig a good trench, because the job I’m being interviewed for later today says that experience is essential – so I’m getting the experience. And the case – it’s got my lunch in it.”

He got the job.