It’s time to dance!

. . . the village survived the cold and the hunger. What they couldn’t survive was the loss of hope.

When you read the title of my column this week, you might expect that I’m banging the drum about our upcoming fair, or some other celebratory occasion.
    Yes, I’m banging the drum but for a far different reason.
    Sunday in church, our pastor, Dirk Weiss, shared a story that really hit home with me and I think it will with you, too.
    He told about a quaint mountain village that everyone who lived there just loved and was so proud of.
    The village leader had three sons—each with a special talent. The oldest could raise olive trees and would sell the oil.
    The second son was a shepherd and had a special knack for taking care of the sheep.
    The third son had a unique talent—he liked to dance. When ther was bad luck in the family or when the winters became hard, he would dance  and bring joy and smiles.
    One day, the village leader said he had to go on a trip, one that would take several months. He charged his sons to use their talents wisely until he returned.
    Soon after he left, a huge snow closed all the passes to the village and no one could get in; no one could get out.
    The villagers had exhausted all their firewood to stay warm. They began cutting down the trees that made the village so beautiful. While the eldest son didn’t want to, he helped them cut down the olive trees for fire wood.
    Soon, the villagers were about to starve and wanted to kill the sheep for the meat and their wool.While the second son didn’t want to, he decided it was better to slaughter the sheep than let the villagers perish.
    But the third son—he did not dance. With so little firewood and so little to eat, he thought it would be rude and insensitive to dance during such suffering.
    While the villagers survived, their spirit and the sense of community had been broken. They left the village in droves.
    When the father returned, he saw smoke coming from just one house. What happened, he asked his sons. The first explained that they were freezing so decided to cut down the trees. The second explained they were starving so they slaughtered the sheep to survive. The man told his two sons they acted wisely.
    Then he asked the third son if he shared his talents by dancing and keeping the spirits of the people high when they were at their lowest.
    He admitted he had not and instead, had decided to save his strength to dance for his father when he came home.  But when he tried to dance, his legs were so stiff and sore, they were no longer suitable for dancing.
    When the village needed him the most, he had let them down. His father told him the village survived the cold and the hunger. What they couldn’t survive was the loss of hope. Now the village was empty and the son could no longer dance.
    Even today, this parable can be applied to many situations in our own lives.
    With ag commodity prices far below their highs, everyone feels the impact—directly or indirectly.
    I’ve heard this year referred to many times as a “survivor year.” Farmers and those that support the local ag economy (which is about everyone else) are doing what they need to do to hang on this year and “hope” things get better down the road.
    We’ve faced adversity in Chase County, in rural Nebraska and throughout rural America and we have always survived. Why? Because of hope and faith.
         Even when things look the toughest, that’s the time to come together and lean on the belief that hope and faith will carry us through.
     It’s more important than ever to remember that now’s the time to dance!

The Imperial Republican

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PO Box 727

Imperial, NE 69033