“Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother who is far away.”Proverbs 27:10b
“The woods are lovely dark and deep,” words from Robert Frost’s beloved poem Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening. Tonight there was no snow. None this evening or this morning or yesterday, even though snow was forecast.
We don’t get much snow here in Oklahoma––maybe once or twice a year. Today and yesterday were bright sun-filled days, cold and crisp but without snow.
Our newest calf was born yesterday early in the morning and we noticed his little self tottering around behind Hannah, his mother. He evidently likes the woods. So far he has escaped the fencing three times and strayed off to nestle in the woods far from his bawling mama cow and the rest of our small herd of fifteen.
He curled up in a tired little ball of black hide and hair and he felt safe there in the woods, away from the noise of the herd and his mother’s prodding. Surrounded by tall trees and secluded. With a spot light Ron found the calf. He carried him the first time from the cold woods and shooed him the second and third time back through the fence and to his relieved mother.
He might be naive enough to think the dark and closeness of the woods are safe and he might have felt secure there, but the truth remains. The woods are dangerous. Coyotes and bobcats roam there at night look for the weak, the lost and alone.
We are not always in a safe place in life though we might feel safe. Closeness, stillness and darkness may surround us, but God—like the rancher––like a father, knows better. He knows we need the company of others, of family, the protection of group, the safety of numbers. Isolation though it seems peaceful can lead to depression and make us prey to those who would manipulate and wrong us, lead us into deception.
We need others. We need to stay together. We need community––family, friends, and neighbors. Do you know your neighbors, spend time with family, invest in friendships? Let’s reach out, take some chances to develop closeness. The woods are lovely but much too dark and deep to stay there all alone.