The Mule and The Well (Weekly Inspiration #15)

Here is a great short story that illustrates how determination and perseverance can help us overcome adversity.  Enjoy!

Once there was a farmer who owned an old mule. One day the mule fell into the farmer’s well and the farmer heard the mule praying or whatever mules do when they fall into wells.

After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving.

Instead, he called all his neighbors together, told them what had happened and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially, the old mule was hysterical, but as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, he could shake it off and step up! This he did, blow after blow. “Shake it off and step up … shake it off and step up … shake it off and step up!”
He repeated this to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or how distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought “panic” and just kept right on shaking it off and stepping up!

It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, finally stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! What seemed like it would only bury him actually helped him … all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

The Farmer had given up on the mule, but the mule had not given up on himself.  The mule realized that he could use the farmers attempts to bury him as an opportunity to rise above.  It was up to the mule to take the actions necessary to change his situation.  If he accepted the farmers assessment that he was not worth saving, he could have laid down and let the dirt bury him.

The lesson for me in this story is to think of the dirt as a metaphor for doubts, criticisms, artificial limitations, and other obstacles that might get in my way.  I can either accept them, lay down, and allow them to bury me, or I can shake them off and stay determined to accomplish my goals.  Adversity will certainly come.  How I handle it is up to me.

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