The father and son worked together fixing fence.  They pulled mangled t-posts, cut broken wires and spliced new strands torn where two bulls fought.  The bulls had fought and broke through for cows on the other side.  The bulls were two days of blindness, running wild and settling every cow that was ready before they became aware enough to feel hunger and follow a feed truck into a corral to be caught and trailered home.  Realizing he was captured, one of the bulls sought to resist his condition and to return to the cows.  He made his strength and protest known, sending the son diving over a pipe panel to safety, but after this display of force the bull loaded easily and without further protest into the trailer to be taken home. 

            The two men started clean at the corner post, tying off, then tightening and splicing each wire out to the broken point from the bulls.  The father did most of the work.  The father worked with a focus, and the son—eyes red and head pounding—got by.  The father knew his son was hurting, but the son worked through it.  That was part of it.  One was free to do whatever one wanted, but you lived and went on with whatever came of it. 

            The father knew the feeling.  It is a stage lived different by all even if much is experienced the same.  You live it, learn from it, grow, and you don’t even know until the stage is past. 

            The father heard about it, as did most of the town.  The father didn’t ask, and the son didn’t say. 

            You don’t always need to talk to understand.  There are times you just do. 

            With the wires spliced, the two took t-posts from the flatbed of the truck and drove them into the ground, parallel and exact with the tensioned wires.  They next worked from opposite ends of the new stretch fastening wires to the newly driven posts.  Aside from the shine of fresh wire and silver paint tops of new posts, you would never know what happened.

            Finished, the two stood in the sun and took a moment before returning to the rest of the day’s work. 

            Appearing to study the fence, the father spoke to his son, “Don’t be too hard on yourself.”

            His son answered, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

            “I know,” the father continued, “but if you are…don’t be.  Nobody’s perfect and we’re all still learning.  Sometimes we think we messed up.  Sometimes we think we’re flawed, made wrong, but our difference is a gift.  It’s a blessing of design…we just haven’t learned it yet.”

            “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” the son answered.  His temples pounded from the night before, and his spirit held a restlessness he could not rid.  He thought drink would ease the restlessness, but it didn’t.  It only deadened more, and under the restlessness, there was an emptiness as well.  He rubbed the knuckles of his left fist with his open right hand as his father’s words hit. 

            “I know,” the father spoke.  “I didn’t know either, but I know more than I used to…I read a story once, about each man being a single mark in a story written by God.  One of the marks is made different.  It appears wrong, and the mark perceives itself as a flaw.  The mark didn’t fit.  It made the sentence wrong, caused the story to change, and the mark—perceiving its difference—felt shame and denied there was reason or purpose to its creation.  It was only when the story ended—when the flaw realized its purpose—that the mark realized it was not an error, but a deliberate creation, made to stand out, and on which the entire story was dependent.   

            These bulls are assholes.  They’ll break through anything to get what they’re after, but that is how they are made.  They are doing what they’re designed to do.  Do you remember when be bought those others that were nice and easy to work with?  What did they do when we turned them out?”

            “Not a damn thing.” 

            “To serve our purpose, sometimes we need a little crazy to get the job done.  You’re young.  You have a fire.  I won’t say I know where you got it, but I have an idea…Wounds heal.  The world forgets, most of it never cared.  We and our troubles are never as important as we think, and when we learn that, it removes a lot of worry.”

            “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

            “I know.  Just know that nobody’s perfect, and we shouldn’t damn ourselves when we too fall short. 

            Peter denied Christ three times.  He failed his faith in his greatest moment of trial.  He cried when the cock crowed and damned himself for his failure, but there was purpose in his failing.  His sin saved his life—and from this denial and failure a Church and faith were born.  Without his failing, what would have become of Christianity begotten in after-atonement.  Paul was a persecutor before he was struck and saw the light.  Aware of his own sins, he became one of our greatest Apostles.  His sins, his thorn in the flesh that he could never rid from himself, is what made him relatable.  It made him real.  It is why his letters are the most read in the Church still today.  He was a failure—by design—and by these deliberately imbued failings, he came to do great good.  Don’t deny your good.”

            “I’m not a Saint.”

            “I know.  Neither am I, and I if you asked a saint, they’d probably say the same.  Nobody’s a saint until death and a life is retold with flaws written out and without objections of truth by the ones that lived it.  You’re not a saint, but you’re a good man.  Maybe that’s all we should shoot to be.  Do not deny the good within you.

            I know you don’t know what I’m talking about, and neither do I, but if you did, that’s what I’d want to say.  Don’t beat yourself up.  There’s a reason you’re made the way you are, a reason you feel what you feel, and I know it isn’t today, but one day it’ll all make sense.”

            “You think?” asked the son.

            “I believe,” the father answered.

            A cloud moved.  The sun cast a ray upon the world, glinting off the clean silver strands of new wire.  The fence was fixed, and there was more still to do.

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