A Few Words on Community
The day started off like most others when I take a trip to get feed from the mill. I travel 36 miles to an Amish community in St. Mary’s County, MD. My relationship with Stoltzfus Feed LLC has been mutually beneficial. I get the feed I want at a reasonable price. They’ve started two completely new lines of feed over the years to satisfy my requirements. These new feeds now account for over half their total business and is their growth sector.
After I’d loaded 5000lbs. of feed, I went over to visit my good friend, John Y. John and I have been friends for years. We do a lot of business together, helping each other along. John Y. is a good farmer, supported by a great wife, Barbara. Now that Stephen is out of school, John Y. has been able to expand his farm.
As I traveled down the gravel lane to John’s farm, a dump truck driver flagged me over. He motioned to a horse that was entangled in a barbed wire fence and asked me to get the horse some help. Pretty soon, John and I were over in the field, looking at the horse.
The horse was a roan draft horse who had attempted to go through a barbed wire fence to get with his buddies. Apparently, the whole crew had gotten away from their farm and had been wandering around when someone let them into this particular pasture to keep them off the road. By the time John and I arrived, the horse had freed itself, but was bleeding profusely, having been ripped up by wire just above his right rear hoof.
Pretty soon, a whole crew came together to take care of the horse. John and I got Eli to help us catch it. Then we went over to get Benny, the community horse vet. When we got back, Eli had led the horse to a better area, where we had access to some water. Tranquilizer applied, the horse went into a slumber while Benny worked on him. Fortunately for the horse, no ligaments were damaged. Benny sutured the vein that had been severed, and administered the antibiotics through an IV saline solution.
This may seem like a typical farm type thing to you, but please note, not one person involved in this story owned this horse. The owner, Isaac, has had a run of bad luck and isn’t doing well. Overworked with no breaks, he’s hit the breaking point. That’s right – Amish are human too. Every person there had their own work to do; yet we all put those things aside to help. For me, I wasn’t going to leave until that horse had been seen to, and also because of my long friendships in that community. John, Eli, and Benny were there to help a neighbor in need. We did what needed to be done. When the doctoring was over and done, Eli led the horse to his farm and put him up in a clean stall. Eli will continue to look after the horse until Isaac can get him.
Entangled. We think of it as a negative word, something to avoid. The draft horse would have been better off had he not become entangled with the fence. And yet, entangled is also a way to describe community. Not only did John know whose horse it was, but he also knew the depth to which his neighbor needed help. Isaac’s uncle, John F. offered to pay us for our time. I told John Y. to just send my share onto the Hospital fund the Amish keep to help pay medical bills.
Pope Francis has asked Christians to have a different take on Lent this year. He’s asked us to focus on giving to the less fortunate and those in need, to look for opportunities to shine the light of Christ into dark places. I’m sure that the Pope’s namesake would agree that a poor Amish draft horse qualifies. I’m also sure if we all lived in communities like this one, the vast majority of our societal problems would solve themselves.