There is nothing glamorous about fixing fences. The beauty of the work shines through when you’re herding a handful of cows from their newly found greener pastures back to their designated pastures. When offered an appropriate amount of pressure, the cows will often amble back through the woods and reveal their portal to the free world, thereby offering ample time to consider the much smaller amount of time it would’ve taken to set some t-posts and stretch some wire. If too great a sense of urgency is implied by the herder—or if the anger and frustration at having to deal with ornery cows is felt—the offenders will scatter and easily triple the recovery time. Call it bovine calculus if you like, but it can test the patience of Job.
Cowboys learn this lesson early or take up another trade. It’s hard to imagine a more patient human than a cowboy, a true technician who knows when to push and when to give, who quietly asserts authority and sense of purpose along with the underlying message that cows and cowboys working together will achieve faster results and better outcomes.
As we work together as Americans and citizens of a global community to restart lives and economies, pent-up frustrations can fuel rash decisions and hasty dialogue, and those only serve to extend the recovery time. It’s important to remember that sometimes we lead and sometimes we are led, but sacrifices are required all around, and both roles are critically important to meet our shared goals.
On this Memorial Day, let’s remember the Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country, our democracy, and our future. Their journeys no doubt required the patience of a cowboy, as the chaos of war sets utter confusion against the absolute clarity of honor and duty. To these brave men and women we owe not only our gratitude, but our good faith effort to preserve the principles they gave their lives defending. Such work requires a soldier’s heart and cowboy’s patience.
A wall within the King Ranch Main House testifies to the Family’s pride in our military, as pictures of those who’ve served, in the uniforms of their branches of service, remind each subsequent generation of the sacrifices that must be made to build and hold a country.
As Americans, our commitment to country and to each other is renewed with every decision we make, every loss we mourn, and every flag we honor. Let’s offer each other a cowboy’s patience as we emerge with the optimism and strength that will one day soon set these challenges behind us.