Just a Few Feet

Recently, my son Bernard and I set about to lime our fields. All was going splendidly until we hit a soft patch and not only got the truck stuck but the lime buggy!  Now our behemoth truck has four wheel drive and should have handled it but unfortunately NOT! We had several problems with which to deal. One, once we got the vehicles out, we had no clear way to get them out of that field due to the woods unless we went back through the very spot we were trying to get out of. Then we had to get the vehicles out one at a time.

We uncoupled the truck from the buggy but it still could not get itself out of its rut. I can remember thinking – it is only two feet we need to get to dry ground. But it might as well have been the moon. We trudged up to the barn to get the tractor out. Click. It was dead. What was to be a quick job was quickly turning into an ordeal. I was sending fervent Hail Mary prayers asking for help!

Bernard found the problem with the tractor and fixed it. Forty five minutes. Then once we got it hitched to the truck it still wouldn’t come – even with the truck’s powerful engine helping out! Just two feet! Just two feet! I kept exclaiming it to myself. Finally, with some wood wedged beneath the rear wheels enough purchase was gained that we extricated the truck.

Now the lime buggy. It could not be towed, it had to be hitched up to a vehicle. It could not be dragged backwards – tempting though it was. It was not so deep in the soft spot and just a foot would have gotten it to firm ground. Plus the fact there was no clear way to get it out of the field except back the way it came! However, one thing at a time! Bernard and I dug the wheels out, used wood, you name it – while the horses cheered us on – but the tractor just couldn’t budge the buggy out. Bernard rarely drives the tractor and me not at all so I had the happy thought to call my husband into the fray – from work mind you. Fortunately, he realized we had not the four wheel drive engaged on the tractor as we thought.. Yay!  So with that information and Bernard’s skill we freed the buggy. Okay, now an hour and a half had passed.

If you saw the only gate options besides trying to tow back through the now rutted pit we were in, trees, fallen logs, rocks and horses presented their challenge! I was so relieved to be out of the pit, anything else seemed easy. NOT! In the first place, hitching the buggy up to the tractor called for razor sharp precision – thankfully my son could do that! However, it was unwieldy and as we moved logs and tried to get it through the easiest gate – with wrenching, shattering cries, the buggy plowed into the gate and got stuck. It was just big enough to allow the equipment to go through but it had to be at a precise angle and with the slope and pits that wasn’t going to happen! I can remember thinking, it is only two inches to having this done! Only two inches and we were as far away as possible still.

With herculean effort and hitching and unhitching three or four times, he succeeded in backing the buggy up safely into the only clearing we could fit into. And fortunately it was at an angle to try and get it through the larger gate. Only hitch was would it open away from us? The gate, being in the middle of a small hill usually only opens up one way – the wrong way for us. So after shifting rocks, we encouraged the gate to move outward and got just enough opening to fit our buggy and tractor through. Thanks be to God!

The truck was next and easily done. Okay we were three hours into it now but so thankful to have extricated ourselves and not wreck anything! As I pondered our day I was thinking about now narrow the margins were from complete immobility  to freedom. And I realized how many times my Christian life is this way – I am so close to being what I want to be for Him yet as Paul says in Romans 7 – I do that which I don’t want to do and that which I should do I do not. Just two feet, just two inches, just miniscule margins between freedom and captivity and they  might as well be the moon!.

I remembered how the simple engagement of four wheel drive in the tractor moved the buggy as if it were a feather and knew that in my life when I surrender my life to the Lord and to His Mother true freedom arrives like the dawn. So when I feel like the two feet are like the moon, now I remember to engage the power of God – by surrender and trust and know that true freedom and resolution will be mine. Such a simple concept, and so hard to accomplish when I think I know best.

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