To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough
by Robert Burns
Small, crafty, cowering, timorous little beast, O, what a panic is in your little breast! You need not start away so hasty With argumentative chatter! I would be loath to run and chase you, With murdering plough-staff.
I’m truly sorry man’s dominion Has broken Nature’s social union, And justifies that ill opinion Which makes thee startle At me, thy poor, earth born companion And fellow mortal!
I doubt not, sometimes, but you may steal; What then? Poor little beast, you must live! An odd ear in twenty-four sheaves Is a small request; I will get a blessing with what is left, And never miss it.
Your small house, too, in ruin! Its feeble walls the winds are scattering! And nothing now, to build a new one, Of coarse grass green! And bleak December’s winds coming, Both bitter and keen!
You saw the fields laid bare and wasted, And weary winter coming fast, And cozy here, beneath the blast, You thought to dwell, Till crash! the cruel plough passed Out through your cell.
That small bit heap of leaves and stubble, Has cost you many a weary nibble! Now you are turned out, for all your trouble, Without house or holding, To endure the winter’s sleety dribble, And hoar-frost cold.
But little Mouse, you are not alone, In proving foresight may be vain: The best laid schemes of mice and men Go often awry, And leave us nothing but grief and pain, For promised joy!
Still you are blest, compared with me! The present only touches you: But oh! I backward cast my eye, On prospects dreary! And forward, though I cannot see, I guess and fear!
Be thankful that I did not share this bit of poetic genius in its original form. I tried reading it. I also have a fair to middling ability to interpret the written word and yet I had not one inkling what he was trying to impart! And, except for some friends of mine who still live in the land of Robert Burns, I doubt many of you would have any idea what he was seeking to say either! But Mandy, ever the pragmatist, knows that its message must indeed be profound or else this prose would not have survived these many years. And it is an extremely profound message! So here, in plain speak, is what I believe Robert Burns was telling us all…..never embark on any journey in life without having plans that allow for the unexpected happening!
Seldom do we plan out our every move as we travel through our days. There are actions we perform as instinctively as we do breathing! Yes, we might have a general idea when we are young of just where it is we hope our journey on life’s road will take us. But we are still young and do not yet have a full understanding of how those “best laid plans” sometimes become swallowed up by life’s realities!
Even something as clearly defined as how we think faith should be embraced and lived, seldom finds us arriving at our final destination without taking multiple detours along our way! That is the way it is with human beings. And as long as we find it within to be able to plan our journey with the understanding that seldom will we find things etched in stone, we will arrive where we hope to be as a mentally healthy, emotionally sound, and spiritually whole person. However, if we choose to be rigid about the journey and not allow our hearts to be led on the right path, we will find ourselves angry and bitter, as if we have allowed some emotional wound to fester!
God understands this about man. He designed us to be this way. He wants us to choose the direction we want to travel but to realize that as we steer our ship through the dangerous waters of life, we need Him to be our co-pilot. And if we willingly surrender total control of the journey to Him and allow Him to help us to navigate as we make that journey, we will arrive at that final destination as people deserving of sharing His mansion on high!
Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.Galatians 3:6-9
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