Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What I Learned from a Cow

Did you know that a cow has four stomachs? Well, technically, that is not true. That's what some people think. A cow is a ruminant mammal, which means they have one stomach, but four chambers. When we say, "I chew like a cow" (which I do when I chew gum) or "chewing on my cud" it's because cows seem to chew all day long due to their digestive process.  

I did some research on this topic and found a lengthy explanation, which I'll try to condense. If you're eating breakfast, you may want to take a break. Essentially, a cow eats, then swallows. The food goes into the first chamber, called the rumen, which is filled with bacteria.This bacteria helps to ferment and break down food. The fermented food then passes into the second chamber, called the reticulum, which is structured like a honeycomb. This serves to catch large particles, which are sent back to the rumen (regurgitation) for further rumination (re-chewing). Rumination is always assisted by copious amounts of saliva. A cow produces 10-45 gallons of saliva a day, depending on the food she is eating. The saliva serves as a buffer, counteracting the acid produced from many of the foods. It also helps reduce bloating, which can turn into a huge problem in cattle.

When all is ok to be passed on, it goes into the 3rd  and 4th chambers, basically further filtering and breaking down of things I don't understand..and so on. Basically: Lather, rinse, repeat...chew, swallow, repeat (pardon the pun)...chew, rinse, swallow. 

So, why the lesson in cow digestion? What does this have to do with...well, anything really?

It's about the rumen...ruminating. Have you ever used that word? "Let's ruminate on that." It means to think deeply on something; contemplate, consider, meditate, ponder...to chew on. Ruminate on this...I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds (Ps 77:12). I will meditate on your precepts (Ps 119:78). Joshua was instructed to keep this book of the law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything in it.Then you will be prosperous and successful (Jos 1:8).

How do we keep the word close to our lips? By meditating on it day and night. Like the cow, chew continually! If we are always chewing, always ruminating, it is close to our lips. Ok, this might sound gross, and might be a stretch, but I think that the Holy Spirit is like the saliva that a cow depends on to help break down the food. The Holy Spirit serves as a buffer; we get a check in our spirit when something isn't right-a holy counteraction of acidic things. And if we just keep chewing the word out of a sense of duty or obligation, and it isn't alive in us, we will become bloated and uncomfortable and stop eating all together. We need that Holy Saliva to aid our rumination! 

And that honeycomb shaped reticulum that filters out things that are too big to pass? Sometimes we are dealt with something that is just too great to swallow. We try on our own to swallow it, to digest it, but it's just too much. The Holy Spirit, in our "spiritual reticulum" filters it out and passes it back up for further rumination, along with copious amounts of His Holy Saliva. 

If we want prosperity and success...I'm not talking financial, I'm talking spiritual and emotional...but maybe that includes financial success and prosperity... we need to ruminate, regurgitate when it's too much or when we need further clarification, then ruminate some more. At times, this process may need to go on for awhile before we are able to truly digest it. Sometimes we need to filter out the ways of the world, the well-meaning advice of others, the thoughts in our heads...and finally, when it's safe to do so, to lay down and digest.

Blessings Along the Path,
Mary

Song of the Day
May the Words of My Mouth (Tim Hughes)

Warning: This is just a tad naughty, so don't open it if you think it will offend you...it talks about gas and ...the body part that rhymes with gas...but it's a very funny cow song.
I Am Cow (Arrogant Worms)

For further reading for highly inquisitive or highly bored people:
Digestive Physiology of the Cow

No comments:

Post a Comment