When I was about seven years old, I was learning to milk cows so I could help my father with farm chores. We had about 14 cows that needed to be milked by hand every night and morning, each in her own stall, aligned side-by-side in a row. On the floor along behind the cows was the “manure trough.” It was about 2 feet wide and 6 inches deep, and ran the full length of the barn and out the wall on one end for drainage.
One evening at milking time, I was balancing on a one-legged stool, bucket between my knees, hunched against the side of Carnation, the largest cow in the herd. The peaceful calm was shattered when Carnation shifted her position, causing me to lose control of the one-legged stool and landing me, bucket, milk and stool in a precarious position beneath the huge cow. With one large hoof, Carnation propelled me into the green ooze-filled manure trough. With her other hoof, she stepped on my reaching hand. There I was, lying on my back, half submerged in muck, accompanied by the stool and bucket, with Carnation standing on my outstretched hand.
With piercing screams of fear and pain resonating from my little throat, I struggled to escape, but with Carnation’s hoof pinning my hand, it was impossible to move. Loud sobbing shook my imprisoned frame.
The commotion attracted my father’s attention, and he came running to my rescue. He booted Carnation and made her release my hand. He then gingerly lifted me from my greenish mire. He didn’t seem to care how dirty he was getting from his efforts to save me.
He comforted me as he carried me from the barn and across the corral to the watering trough. He gently lowered me into the cool, refreshing water, and tenderly washed away all of the grime, eased my pain and fear, and calmed my weeping.
That was a terrible experience for a little 7-year-old boy, but I have thought about that event in a different light since then.
Many of us are caught in the cesspools of life, and we need help. There is One who, if we let Him, can lift us from the mire of darkness and despair and gently cleanse us, comfort us, ease our fears, quiet our weeping, take away our pain, and give us his peace.
—LaMont Vern Fowler, Bountiful 39th Ward, Bountiful Utah South Stake