Out west, a cowboy was driving down a dirt road, his dog riding in back of the pickup truck, his faithful horse in the trailer behind, when he failed to negotiate a curve and had a terrible accident.
Sometime later, a highway patrol officer came on the scene.
An animal lover, he saw the horse first.
Realising the serious nature of its injuries, he drew his service revolver and put the animal out of his misery.
He walked around the accident and found the dog, also hurt critically.
He couldn’t bear to hear it whine in pain, so he ended the dog’s suffering as well.
Finally he located the cowboy — who suffered multiple fractures — off in the weeds.
‘‘Hey, are you okay?’’ the cop asked.
The cowboy took one look at the smoking revolver in the trooper’s hand and quickly replied, ‘‘Never felt better!’’
I am not sure why but this story prompted me to think about the amount of time I spend complaining, but as Mark Twain said, ‘‘Don’t complain and talk about all your problems — 80 per cent of people don’t care; the other 20 per cent will think you deserve them’’.
William Spurgeon, the late 19th century preacher, used the illustration of a heavy wagon being dragged along a country lane by a team of oxen.
The axles groaned and creaked terribly, which caused the oxen to turn around and say to the wheels, ‘‘Hey there, why do you make so much noise?’’
To which the wheels replied, ‘‘We bear all the labour, and we — not you — ought to cry out!’’
How much time and emotional energy do we put into complaining when someone else is bearing all the labour?
I love reading letters to the editor in the daily papers. However it is a rare thing for these writers to say anything positive. They generally complain without offering solutions.
When I complain, it is my wife who is most often the recipient. So what do I achieve? The answer is: I’ve now made two people miserable.
I know there are times when we need a bit of a grizzle, but wouldn’t our little worlds be so much more pleasurable if, instead, the complaints could be replaced with compliments?
The Bible suggests that we should ‘‘do everything without complaining or arguing, so that we may become blameless and pure children of God’’.
What a blissful life that would be!
- George Deeble, Euroa Christian Fellowship