“I never said you could hunt here.” Those words might as well have been a five-pound sledge to the temple — I was stunned. Quickly recovering from the initial shock, I mustered an apology while feeling a sickening sense of disbelief begin to settle in my stomach.
After a short and civil conversation, I was given permission to resume my hunt, but I knew my season had just taken a turn for the worse. We had spent all summer hanging stands and locating travel corridors on this property. Now the owner had just told me we couldn’t hunt this property after today. I was bummed.
To be truthful, I was seething.
I never said you could hunt here
To say that I was upset would be an understatement. I knew we had permission and had even been on the property two previous times with the property owner. Sensing something was amiss; I shook it off and tried to stay positive. There was only one problem, I was boiling inside.
Taking my frustration into the following mornings hunt, I sat in my treestand chewing on the events of the previous day. How? Why? What was he thinking? How could we lose our best property this late in the season? Then I began to grumble to God.
Then I began to grumble to God
“God, why did this have to happen?” “Can’t anything go right this year?” “Why does it seem like the harder I work the more that goes wrong?” “What next?”
About this time the sun began to peak over the horizon. Unfolding before me was a masterpiece of breathtaking beauty. As I was clothed in the soft morning light, I immediately felt ashamed. I felt selfish.
My mind wandered to the day when a doctor at the University of Cincinnati hospital told me it was a miracle I could walk. Yet, here I was complaining and grumbling about a single loss when I had two good arms to draw a bow and two good legs to climb a ladder to my treestand. Because of God’s mercy, I was sitting here with two good eyes that allowed me to see a another sunrise. I had two boys hunting with me that loved me and a wife that is happy my boys enjoy hunting with their dad. I am very blessed.
I was more focused on a single loss than on my many blessings
Was I bummed? Boy howdy!
Am I blessed? Beyond measure!
I bowed my head and asked God to forgive me for being so self-centered. As I prayed I told Him that if He would help me, I would enjoy His creation and be happy to be in the outdoors even if I had to eat tag soup this year. It was an honor just to be alive.
Thanksgiving is different this year, different in that I have a new perspective gained by loss. Interesting enough, it’s been during the week of Thanksgiving I’ve harvested my biggest bucks. But, it’s also been during this week that I’ve realized my greatest blessings aren’t the trophies on the wall.
Romans 8:28 is still true
This “from the heart” story wouldn’t be complete without telling you that I have since been in contact with the property owner. Sensing something just wasn’t right, I have found that he is going through a very difficult time in his life. If the circumstances of this story would have never came about, I would have never been given the opportunity to be an encouragement to him.
The scripture says in Romans 8:28 that “All things work together for good…” and although I don’t always understand, I still believe it’s true. In reality that property owner’s quality of life is more important than a 170-inch trophy on my wall. We all face situations that leave us bummed and we all need encouragement.
Happy Thanksgiving and remember to count your blessings. Even when you’re bummed.