How long are your legs?

By Bill Shepard

Our lives can sometimes be a long, winding road.

It brings us to places and circumstances where often, we do not know which direction to take. We are confronted with questions we cannot answer. At such times, we must call for help! That can mean swallowing our pride and admitting that we are not the “macho” person that we want the world to believe we are.

I read a short story about a boy who was following his dad, as the dad was showing some visitors over the farmland. The boy had not been invited to come along, so he was following at a safe distance behind, not wishing to be discovered.

At times, the group would come to a narrow stream or divide and would make the crossing, rather easily, and then continue on. When the boy would come to those places, he would often have difficulty making the crossing.

As the journey continued, the men came to a rather wide and deep ditch that had been dug to allow a small stream to flow through the pasture land. The men hesitated for a moment and then each, with an effort, leaped across the stream and continued on.

The boy approached the stream and realized it was too wide and deep for him to step over. What was he to do? He did not want to reveal himself, as the father had not yet discovered that he was being followed. He could turn and go back home and never tell anyone that he had followed his dad. He could even blame the ditch for being too wide or the men who dug it.

There were options aplenty, as they often are, in similar situations. The boy thought for a moment, then opened his mouth wide and screamed, “Daddy, my legs are too short!” The boy’s daddy heard and recognized his son’s cry for help; he ran back and lifted the small boy across the stream and allowed him to join the group, as they continued on together.

Whether the story is true or not, there is a lesson to be learned from it. It does seem that the older I get, the wider some of my ditches get and the shorter my legs become! I find myself more often, having to admit that I am not the “macho” man that some might have thought me to be.

When I began this story, my mind traveled back to the place of my childhood. We lived near a large pasture land, owned by a man who operated a small milk dairy. The pasture was the place where his cows grazed freely. A long and wide ditch was dug through the pasture to allow for drainage of a small stream to empty into Swift Creek which flowed nearby.

On Sunday afternoons during the summer, the boys of the village would often gather in the pasture to play. One game often played was “follow the leader.” Usually, the leader was an older and much larger boy.

To remain in the game, whatever the leader did, the others had to follow or drop out of the game. Playing along the ditch, the leader would come to one of the wider places and jump across it. To remain in the game, the others had to follow. I returned home soaking wet many times because I would not swallow my pride and admit to myself that my legs were too short! In trying to follow, I would fall short and land inside the ditch where the water was flowing.

There are some lessons to be learned from both of the above stories. One moment, our lives are filled with sunshine and good happenings and the next moment, we are in situations we cannot handle. At such times, we are put to the test. Swallow our pride and call for help or go home wet. It is a wise person who in such times will admit their weakness and seek help.

Our heavenly father has an attentive ear for all of those who cry – “My legs are too short!” He will walk through the hard places with us and even carry us, if necessary. He will, I know that He will! Do you? How long are your legs?

Author: Rachel Howell

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