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Whether a Governor, F-15 pilot or a Sheep Herder, your actions influence people you will likely never know.

BLACK MESA ARIZONA –  I was herding Roberta Blackgoat’s sheep one sunny February day when a fighter plane dusted by 20 feet overhead or less.

I hit the ground as all the sheep and both dogs scattered. They all gathered back together when the plane was long gone and seemed to be comforting by circling around each other in really strange ways that I can’t understand. That all seemed fine though.

I looked over and there was one lamb shaking nonstop near a short tree. I went over and pet her and hugged her, and tried to say things in assuring ways hoping she would feel in my breath that she no longer needs to fear all that. Her shaking seemed to subside but she never seemed right after that. She would always drink less water than the others, and sometimes refused to drink or eat altogether.

Not too many days later Roberta handed me a long knife and instructed me to go out and slit the lamb’s throat saying that she will freeze to death either tonight or tomorrow night so our job was to stop the suffering. It was very difficult for me to do, but she was 50 some odd years my Elder and I was there primarily to herd sheep and chop wood for her, so I completed the task as competently as I could. She had said to be very swift, and use the sharpest part of the knife right across the neck so the lamb would die instantly and feel no extra pain.

That was not the most difficult thing I ever did in my life, but it remains in my top ten.

Incidentally, I will never forgive the very same military that I served proudly in years before that. The two men or women in that F-15 did NOT need to do that, and they probably don’t even care how much suffering they caused in a gigantic circle around them.

The only thing I can thank these two inhumane people for, is they helped me to live out my life being just a little more deliberate about each and every action I make as I try to be more aware who I might help or hurt in a big circle around me.