Weatherford Democrat

Viewpoints

October 25, 2013

NOTES FROM THE JOURNEY: The blessing of baling wire

By JOHN PAUL CARTER

One man’s trash, they say, is another’s treasure. When Carole gets in a “cleaning out and throwing away” mood, she sometimes mistakes my treasures for trash. One of my trashy treasures that has escaped her purges hangs on a hat rack in our Texas room – a small bundle of rusty baling wire.

It takes two 8-foot strands of strong, pliable wire to hold a bale of hay together. After the wire is cut and the hay fed to the livestock, the wires are usually bent into a slim, foot-long bundle and tossed into the bed of the truck or a barrel for disposal. But ranchers keep some of the wire handy for emergencies.

When something needs to be temporarily held together, baling wire is a fellow’s best friend. It will do to mend a fence, tie up a dragging muffler, double-lock a gate, fix a broken float in a water trough and a thousand other things. No shop, car or pickup should be without it!

If you break down on the road or in the middle of the pasture, you may be able get things going again if you have some baling wire. While it won’t take you all the way to California, it just might get you home or to the repair shop.

Years ago in my counseling office, I hung a piece of rusty baling wire on the wall as a symbol of grace and hope. There are times when life breaks down in the middle of nowhere and we need something – anything – to hold things together until we can get some help.

Sometimes the baling wire that keeps us going seems pretty weak. We may find ourselves being motivated by fear, guilt, exhaustion or ignorance – rather than justice, love, and commitment. But if that’s all we have to work with, doing the right thing for the wrong reason may not be so bad.

Couples in a failing marriage often feel compelled to stay together for the sake of the children, to avoid economic disaster, or because they don’t want to upset their families. While such reasons may not offer much hope for the long haul, sometimes such baling wire holds two people together just long enough for them to find a way to overhaul their relationship.

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