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Shake it off!

By Staff | Jun 1, 2022

Like people everywhere, each one of us in Sanpete have problems and adversity. I’m fond of saying, “if you think that someone doesn’t have problems, all that means is that you don’t know that person very well.”

I’ve found that everyone I’ve ever become acquainted with, beyond the superficial, has problems big and small in their lives. It may be health concerns, family matters, financial stresses, or any one or a combination of many different things.

At church we often sing the hymn “Lord, I Would Follow Thee.” A couple of the main messages of the song is that we shouldn’t judge each other and that we all “walk imperfectly.” A significant line in the lyrics reads: “In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can’t see.” Then the next words ask the question, “Who am I to judge another…?”

If you’re not familiar with this song, here’s the link which will not only give you the words, but will play the music for you. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/music/library/hymns/lord-i-would-follow-thee?lang=eng

Lord, I Would Follow Thee

Lyrics. 1. Savior, may I learn to love thee, Walk the path that thou hast shown, Pause to help and lift another, Finding strength beyond my own. Savior, may I learn to love thee–


It’s got a nice melody and beat – but it’s hard to dance to. (as they used to sometimes say on American Bandstand years ago when they’d rate a record.)

Many of you may be familiar with the following old story which relates to handling problems. I believe I may have shared a version of the story in this space some years ago, but I think it’s worth retelling in these times we’re living in right now.

As far as I know, it comes once again from that prolific writer “Author Unknown.” See if the advice given in the story can apply to anything going on currently in your life.

A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s old well. The farmer heard the mule braying – or whatever mules do when they fall into wells.

After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together. He told them what had happened and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck the mule. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, he should shake it off and step up! This he did blow after blow.

“Shake it off and step up – shake it off and step up – shake it off and step up!” – he repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought panic and just kept right on shaking it off and stepping up.

You’re right! It wasn’t long before the old mule battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well. The thing that seemed like it would bury him, actually blessed him. And it was all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

That’s life! If we face our problems and respond to them positively and refuse to give into panic, bitterness, or self-pity, the adversities that come along to bury us usually have within them the potential to benefit and bless us.

Remember that forgiveness, faith, prayer, praise and hope are all excellent ways to “shake it off and step up” out of the wells in which we find ourselves.

I know that advice like this is easier said than done. But there is some truth to the concept. Here’s hoping that our “wells” aren’t too deep and the dirt being thrown on us doesn’t have too many rocks in it. Let’s just keep shaking it off Sanpete. — Merrill


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