Having a bull charge toward you will awaken the senses by seeing its massive size, hearing its rapid approach, tasting a dry mouth, realizing your feet are momentarily paralyzed, and worst of all, getting wind of its stench. My family and I, strolling placidly with our area directors through our small Mexican village on a quiet morning, were startled when we saw a monstrous bull running rampantly down the street toward us. Behind the beast, its owner scrambled to keep up, grasping in one hand the rope-leash that was supposed to restrain his animal.
The sound of the heavy beast’s hooves pounding the cement-brick road in syncopated rhythm was in contrast to the swift, light, and intermittent steps of its owner. We stopped then, our dry mouths agape with incredulity. The bull’s owner, who somehow managed to keep his straw farmer’s hat on his head during the chase, attempted to call his runaway bull through gasping breaths, but to no avail. The animal continued charging down the street, uncertain where it was headed as it passed crumbling adobe, vibrant bougainvilleas, and local residents out and about their business, each one suddenly and equally stupefied. Those behind the bull’s path and no longer in danger chuckled nervously, while my friend, the one photographing the moment, tempted fate by situating herself in the bull’s path, shooting quickly before stepping aside and out of harm’s way. I stood momentarily transfixed, my camera hanging idly by my side, my feet anchored in one spot. The odor of approaching bull-dung reached my nostrils, nudging my feet awake into motion and directing me to take cover by the nearest vehicle. We held our breath as the beast hammered by us. Finally, the bull slowed as it neared the center of town, allowing it’s owner to catch up, take control, and eventually lead it back home. As for our little group, we continued onward toward our goal: an invigorating walk partway up the mountain to enjoy the view of which so many have boasted. We weren’t disappointed: a stunning vista overlooking the central Oaxacan valley greeted us as we paused to catch our breath.
Unexpected unpleasantries (like bull happening) are a part of life. We may have a set purpose for the day, with a goal in mind, when suddenly something interrupts our calm or our well-laid plans. Sometimes we have to wait for that to pass, even though any number of emotions may be present. Other times we have to learn to overcome, often with great effort. But in either situation, the one thing we must do is to continue, press on, presevere. God is there to help you. The end result will amaze you.
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14, ESV)