There’s something about shoveling manure that’s good for a man’s soul

Now admittedly I’m coming at this from the angle of the weekend dabbler – like the man who works in an office all week and then hauls some rock in his yard on Saturday and feels tough. If I were a farmer for a living I’d probably feel differently about the manual labor, but at the present I feel pretty good about my blister.

I think it’s the work specifically that does it. Manure means cows. Cows means production. Production means provision and that there, gentlemen, is what each of our souls strives for. We’re getting dirty. We’re getting involved.

It’s like God who stooped down into the mire of His creation, choosing to be born of the very dust into which He first breathed life. I’m so above a cow and I think that also puts me above what comes out his rear, but for a higher goal I’ll spend a day pushing it around.

Unlike God, we can’t get rid of it. I have no way of dealing with the stuff other than to turn it into a neatly stacked pile, or burn it to heat my bath. And don’t think burning is efficient removal. Then you get to push around a pile of manure ash.

And this too is good for the soul. You watch it carefully. Cool it indoors for a day. Gingerly sift it onto the ash pile watching for any remaining embers. You don’t want to miss one and inadvertently burn your house down. That would be the opposite of provision. Whatever that might be. And so we provide. The cows are fed, the udders are milked, the calves are sold and the manure is shoveled. And it is well with my soul.

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