It has been raining buckets for two days now. The weather report predicts a little bit of sun peaking through the clouds by late afternoon. I believe this community will welcome the light as the flooding recedes.
I have noticed how life can go for weeks without major incident. Not that it is boring during that time. But there is only a general hum of progress and maintenance. Dishes, homework, music lessons, chores, grocery shopping, supper, bedtime... Then there are specific periods in time where life is suddenly thrown into stark relief. One is suddenly facing a crossroads. A decision is weighted with complexity. A clear mind is needed to navigate an intense situation...
This week has been filled with important issues. It has required me to be very mindful of each word, each thought, I release into the universe. I haven't been able to dance down life's path. Life's path is suddenly overgrown with thorns and shadows. If I'm going to continue forward I have to tread carefully and believe there is light beyond this immediate condition.
And there IS light.
No matter how torrential the rains or wild the tempest, above the turbulent atmosphere is a clear view of the sun. The sun does not cease to shine, we simply must weather the storm.
I am grateful for God's love, mercy, and guidance today. For truly, I could not withstand some trials without His presence and strength. In fact, the minute I turned over my fears to Him in prayer, solutions appeared. Assurance bathed me in warmth. Peace gently spread over my soul. Compassion supplanted hurt.
My path was cleared enough for me to move forward.
All is well.
Why am I sharing this? What does this have to do with a small flock of sheep and the rhythms of farming?
Though the troubles I faced this week had nothing to do with my flock or farm, Shetland sheep, the organization that maintains their registration (NASSA), and shepherds involved with this breed are currently facing division and turmoil.
Anger, fear, and hurt are being sputtered and spit across North America regarding this small adorable animal.
So what should be done?
Truthfully, I do not know. I do not know if I have a solution, or if I even will be a part of a solution.
But know what I want for this breed...
I want the positive energy of each singular Shetland to be one of the most obvious messages of it's public persona.
And I know one cannot battle negativity with negativity. The problems I faced this past week would have become nightmares for me and my family had I relied on my gut reactions and emotions. Did I have a right to those feelings? Certainly. However, they were no more than swirls of justifications and self-righteousness.
If Shetlands are going to survive in North America, I believe every shepherd of them is going to have to tap into the power of light and love. Sounds flaky, I know. But how else do I express this?
Let us each reflect before we speak or publish. Let's remind ourselves of one terrific thing about a person that completely disagrees with us or has attacked us. Let's open our minds to the positive aspects of each perspective. Let's listen to the energy of each voice and allow ourselves to be moved only by those that seek harmony and growth, rather than those that seek division and hatred.
In the course of world events...perhaps this is a tiny, insignificant battle. What is not insignificant is our personal response to it's fallout. I believe our individual actions create vibrations for better or for worse. How do we each weigh in on this subject? I'm not asking for your opinion on the subject. I'm asking how you intend to conduct your response. How do you navigate a path of thorns and shadow? Do you draw strength from judgement or from faith in positivity?
I'm just pondering aloud. Not that I'm dismissing what I said in a hope that no one will criticize me for my opinion. But I can't control those responses in others and I have decided I don't really need to worry about them either.
If there is one gift I would like to give the Shetland Community, and those folks that are considering becoming shepherds of these terrific little sheep, it is this:
I believe you have a mind, and I believe you have the right to make your own decisions.
Do your research.
Work with breeders that encourage your dreams rather than press you to join their personal battle.
A good breeder will introduce you to the breed in all it's variety, and refer you to other breeders if you are searching for something not offered in their own flock.
How can they do this? Because they are proud enough of their own stock, effort, and vision to realize it will survive because it is GOOD.
Shetlands are quite variable. Shetland shepherds are quite variable.
The only similarity I can think of between each of my Shetland friends that are spread far and wide across this continent is NOT the type of sheep or wool they raise.
The similarity is their kindness, civility, and decency.
Each shepherd is in a completely different place with their flock goals at this time.
But I rejoice in their positivity and their commitment to these dear, small sheep.