Theology in the Trenches

The Case of the Rejected Calf
Kathleen Kjolhaug
Friday, July 12, 2019

Twins! Who would not be thrilled with the prospect of twins? Even more thrilling … is when they enter this world and we don’t have an clue they are coming ... until hindsight which is, as you know, always 20/20.

I know this well as it happened to us some thirty years back when our daughters entered this world. Unexpectedly, Heidi was hiding behind Maria. It was an eventful early morn when the miracle was duly marked by the double staff which “happened” to be on duty. It’s normal when prepping for the arrival of twins to be doubled staffed in hospital facilities but as we didn’t know we were about to deliver twins, it was not scheduled as such. Or was it? It just-so-happened that at the precise time they decided to make their entry into this world, the night shift at the hospital was overlapping with the morning shift … and double staff we did have.

Miracles beget miracles because I’d prayed for twins just weeks into the pregnancy. Doc kept checking and announcing that there was only one and each time he did, I was disappointed. He had not heard the cry of my heart and just because I accepted it, didn’t mean I was happy about it. Later doc informed me that if he’d known I’d prayed, he would have checked beyond the one heartbeat he claimed he could hear.

Doc happened to be gone that morning in August but the one on duty had delivered surprise twins before so it was yet another miracle in the series of events that took place that day.

Enough about me because what I’m aiming to tell you is a story about another set of twins who entered this world unexpectedly, and when they did, their mama wasn’t nearly as thrilled.

It took place early one morning in May. Mother cow #1 dropped two calves. According to the farmer, she took note of one but had little to no interest in the other. As she completely disregarded the life of the second, the farmer had no choice but to step in. He scooped up the rejected calf, placed it within the barn, and promptly began to bottle feed. As all of life is important, he kept careful watch.

Days passed and all-thewhile he continued to nurture the little calf. Soon, there was a new problem in the pasture. Mother cow #2 gave birth and before her calf could see the light of day, it died. This mother cow lingered over her dead calf as if in hopes that it would resurrect itself into movement. She smelled it, stood watch over it, and would not move from it.

As farmers are quite adept in making farm life come to life, the farmer had an idea.

This farmer drove his side-by-side up to the barn door where the bottle calf from mama #1 was being fed. He wrangled that calf into the front driving compartment of this four-wheeler like vehicle, and drove it straight on out into the pasture. Removing the dead calf from where it had been lying … he rubbed the scent of the deceased calf round and about the bottle calf he’d just brought out. Once he completed that task, he swapped out calves in hopes that the grieving mama #2 might take to the likes of this new one.

What did mama #2 do with the calf from mama #1? For starters, she began moving in closely to the bottle calf who was now standing in the place of her dead calf. That mama #2 watched it and nuzzled it as we stood watch to see if yet another miracle would take place on the farm. Then, within minutes, she simply turned and walked away. Just like that … the little calf was rejected for the second time.

What did the farmer do? As of today, he is still bottle feeding the little orphaned calf.

Not to worry though because His promises never fail. John 14:18 says, “I will not leave you orphaned. I will come to you.” Just like the calf … we too await.

May you keep an eye out for your Caregiver ’cause He’s keeping an eye out for you. Amen.

( Kathleen Kjolhaug is a religion columnist.)