This past week was my anniversary. I’ve been married to the rancher’s son now for fourteen years, and finally, finally, this year I was deemed “big girl” enough to handle working the shoots alone for branding. Okay, they were short men, and desperate—they had no other choice but to recruit me. So, of course, my father-in-law gives me one last pep talk before I jumped the fence to join the myriad of calves in the holding pen, bawling for their mammas.
“Keep yourself pressed to their hip,” he tells me. “If you don’t, it’ll hurt when they kick.”
I don’t know about you, but that was warning enough for me. I kept myself right against their backside, no matter how much they peed and pooped. Yes, pumpkins, I had some smelly stains from the waist down by the time we finished, but not one of those calves was able to kick me very hard.
This moment got me to thinking, as most moments in my life do, the importance of obedience. We are surrounded by dos and don’ts, both in civil laws and spiritual ones. Sometimes the consequence, like working with the calves, is easy to see if you don’t obey. Same thing if you get caught speeding—expect a ticket. It’s when the consequence isn’t immediately understood that we usually struggle to follow, or question why it’s a rule at all. And there’s your mistake. It doesn’t matter what the consequence will be or even when it will happen. If you choose not to obey, in some form or another, you will have to pay for that choice.