In the Middle; In Manure

“Heidi could go no further; the remembrance of the past, the excitement she had just gone through, the long suppressed weeping, were too much for the child’s strength…The doctor stood up and laid her head kindly down on the pillow. ‘There, there, go on crying, it will do you good, and then go to sleep: it will be all right tomorrow.'” This excerpt is found right in the middle of the classic story Heidi by Johanna Spyri. Of course, if you know the story, you know the events that lead up to Heidi requiring a doctor, and you know what follows. But I’m leaving you right there – in the middle. I’m leaving you there because that’s where I am. Right in the middle of some story, a sub-plot of my life. Perhaps that’s where you are, too. Events have occurred, events are occurring, and events are sure to follow. We can’t even be certain that what we’re now experiencing is “the middle.” Maybe we’re actually a couple of pages before the climax; maybe we’re several chapters away. We don’t know what’s on the next page or even in the next paragraph. Sometimes I think it’s a stretch to call this a story – it feels more like a pile of manure. (I did grow up on a farm, so I don’t mean that completely figuratively.) In his book Tell It Slant, Eugene Peterson writes, “Jesus is best known for his fondness for the minute, the invisible, the quiet, the slow – yeast, salt, seeds, light. And manure…this apparently dead and despised waste is teeming with life – enzymes, numerous microorganisms. It’s the stuff of resurrection.” Sometimes I (and maybe you, too) think the story is a more derogatory term for manure. But we would be foolish if we ignore Peterson’s reminder of the potential life-changing components of manure. We can’t lose sight of its resurrective potential. We must believe it will sprout the hopeful words of Heidi’s doctor, “It will be all right tomorrow.”


2 thoughts on “In the Middle; In Manure

  1. frozen ground works in much the same way as manure. you may be in manure, i am on frozen ground…..unable to take the next step. stuck tight as the world moves around. but i'm okay here, knowing the Gate-Keeper of the cold. His warmth will come in time and thaw my mind. In the meanwhile, i am dormant, albeit a productive state, not unlike the seed waiting for new growth in spring. and that's a good thing.

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