Moving forward a part of the mystery

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Remember the trepidation of having to climb up the ladder to the dark hay mow very early in the morning after having stayed up late watching a scary movie the night before?
It’s been years and years ago, but I still feel that tingling in the toes and chills up my spine just thinking about it!
Scary story. A school assignment during my high school years forced us all to read In Cold Blood, the true story of a Kansas family – a family uncannily like my own – killed ruthlessly in their farm house one night.
For weeks on end, I was jumpy and not myself. I would find myself peeking for prison escapees behind the stainless steel bulk milk tank before I could begin the morning milking.
Finally, one morning, my dad had just about had it with my rattled nerves.
“I want you to think about something. That book that you are reading has always been there, carrying that story, whether you ever were to read it or not. The fact that you are reading it right now is not going to change the facts, but it is a sad story that happened far from here, years and years ago. Try to remember that.”
What my dad was trying to say is exactly what I opened this column with. We cannot let worry cast a big shadow, not big enough to paralyze us with fear, anyway. Or, as Deepak Chopra once said, “My tormentor is myself left over from yesterday.”
Sometimes, we simply must quiet that tormentor from within. I later jokingly said to my dad that he was just getting sick and tired of me trying to weasel my way out of going up in the mow to throw down hay, but his words really helped me put such a huge, scary monster back in perspective.
Apprehension. I thought of this the other day when my daughter’s best friend expressed apprehension about going away to college in just a few short months. Stephanie realizes we have been blessed with the safety and security of a small town, and she questions how she will adapt in a much larger, less safe, environment.
One of my favorite comediennes was Gilda Radner. She said this about facing such things: “Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.”
If we could all peek around the corner in to all of our tomorrows, would we really want to? I’m sure some people would say yes, but they are likely the people who search the house for the Christmas presents ahead of time, and they are likely the ones who turn the pages of their books to see how it ends before they even begin reading.
I’m certainly not one of them … I want to be surprised!
Surprises. Much of life is one surprise after another. Some of those surprises are wonderful, while others are just one big bummer.
I believe those surprises keep us going, helping us to roll out of bed each morning to face the day just to see what it will bring our way. We have no choice but to take the good with the bad, but to keep moving forward anyway.

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.

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