JEFFREY SWAINSTON, CHAPLAIN
P.O. Box 77
Manton, MI 49663​
(616) 405-6921
revjeff82@gmail.com

MARCH/APRIL  2019 GRANGE NEWS

The Story
The farmer thought the mule was not worth saving when it fell into a well accidentally so he thought he would just put it out of its misery by burying it. Despite the farmer's best efforts to bury the mule shovel after shovel full, the mule resisted until it was able to climb out of the well on top of all the dirt that was thrown in after him.

The mule, despite the fact it was initially in a deep well, would not give up. The mule simply shook the dirt off shovel by shovel never giving up the will to live, to climb out of the well.


We Fall At Times
We may all have fallen into a hole at one time or another while we did not intend to. Some of us act like the mule and fight and fight until we get out of the hole, while others may try a few attempts, but in the end just give up and stay where they have fallen.

The difference between the ones who are able to climb out and the ones who ultimately give in and stay in their hole is really a matter of one's overpowering desire to get out from under whatever is pushing you down or trapping you. For those who have this power, it is not a matter of hoping to get out of the hole but only a matter of when.


A Good Comparison
There certainly is a good comparison between a mule and it’s stubbornness and a person who never, ever assumes that defeat or failure is an option. To accept defeat is to accept that life is over - all the fight is gone and you are simply waiting for your turn to have real dirt piled onto you.

The real challenge for a lot of us is to maintain the energy required to get out of one hole after another. No one said life was going to be easy so you might as well start to develop your resiliency, and your abilities to overcome issues by always, always looking for a solution and never, ever be satisfied that any hole, no matter how big, is going to get the better of you.

Be like a mule, a mule that is stubborn, who is going to do what they are going to do without even thinking that there is any option but to succeed.


A Lot In Common
The farmer and the mule have a lot in common with most situations in life. We cannot always choose what difficulties we will run into, but we can choose how to respond. Our actions or reactions are in direct relationship to how much we actually control our own perceptions because there is absolutely no circumstance that has within its' own powers to compel any kind of emotional reaction. Events happen; you do not give any power to an event unless you choose to do so. This is the plain fact. If you do react to an event, you have made an actual decision to do so. To say an event caused you to react is not, in reality, a true statement. The event caused absolutely nothing; you made a choice and part of that choice is both one of mental decision-making and of physical action.

The Secret
The secret to any event is to work towards minimizing emotion and maximizing pure factual thinking skills. When you work to reduce emotional reactions to a situation, you are giving yourself a real chance to deal with the issue in a constructive way. This is not to say that some events in life will not lead to an emotionally charged reaction like the death of a loved one. But this is not what we are talking about here. We are, instead, talking about all those everyday events that crop up like when a colleague does something that can mean that you have to take charge and do the work, or when you find yourself stuck in traffic with nowhere to go but sit in your car. These are situations that can lead to emotions but this need not happen when you realize you are in charge of how you feel, how you think, and therefore how you will react.



While the story does make us smile, it does have wisdom in it. It reminded me about defeating adversity. How we handle adversity determines our success in life. Adversity is a fact of life. It can't be controlled. What we can control is how we react to it.

When faced with adversity we can give up and adopt the “poor me” attitude. Or we can look at adversity as an opportunity to find other ways to do things. We can be determined, persistent, and persevere. It all comes down to your choice, and it is a choice of attitude!

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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019 GRANGE NEWS

No one likes to be wrong. Nobody is eager to admit they made a mistake or chose poorly. But we know we are not perfect. People make mistakes all the time.

Instead of hoping no one saw your mistake why not own up to your actions and accept responsibility? You will be amazed at how much better you feel. The consequences of holding onto our sin are far more damaging than telling the truth and asking for forgiveness.
Have you ever lost your patience with someone and responded with a sharp tongue? Have you ever promised something that you were unable to deliver? Instead of justifying your actions, how about apologizing and asking for forgiveness?

​​If you have children, don’t forget to ask them for forgiveness. By modeling the behavior of repentance, you are letting your children know that it is all right to make mistakes and that they will always be loved and forgiven.

Whoever conceals their sin does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. ~Proverbs 28:13~

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