Twenty years ago, I saw a movie called “The Horse Whisperer.” Robert Redford played the lead role. The story was based on the real life of Dan “Buck” Brannaman. Brannaman was a cowboy who had a mystical ability to calm unruly horses by talking to them. He said he spoke the horse’s language.
Once, when I was around eleven years old, I rode an unruly horse. He decided to take me for a ride that I did not want to take. I spoke all kinds of things to that horse, but I don’t believe I ever found his language. My brother said the horse had been spooked by something. I said I didn’t know about the horse being spooked, but I had no doubt that I had been. Brannaman did not break horses but used different techniques to turn a frightened horse into his friend.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to see this technique demonstrated. Our association, in conjunction with the Alabama Baptist Evangelism Department and the Cowboy Church of Lee County, brought in Paul Daily for an event. Daily is a Christian evangelist who uses his horse taming ability to present the gospel. In his demonstrations, he tames a wild horse, which has never been saddled and one he has never seen before. In ninety-minutes, he uses his gentle methods to break the horse and bring him into complete obedience.
I don’t know that I could ever tame a wild horse, or even a frog, for that matter. What? You’ve never heard of a frog whisperer? Well, this may not be quite as impressive as someone breaking a horse that may weigh in excess of a thousand pounds, but I am impressed by my grandson’s unusual ability to catch frogs. He gets frogs out of our pool but not with the usual methods. We have lots of frogs who love to use our pool to cool off after a long hard day of croaking and eating flies. I told you about Bully the giant bullfrog a few weeks ago. Well, Bully has moved on to greener waters or maybe Froggy went a courting. Wherever he has gone, Bully has disappeared, so the other frogs have returned. After a long hard night of living it up (the frogs, not me) most of them end up in the skimmer, so I often dip them out before that happens. I scoop them out with a large dip-net on the end of a long pole.
I have never seen anything like what my grandson does. Drew, is the frog whisperer. Instead of using the dip-net, he uses a square stick that’s about four feet long. He slowly and quietly eases one end of that stick under a frog and the frog climbs on. He gets his frog almost every time. He then lifts the frog out of the pool and sets him down in the grass. He has tried to teach me his technique, but I have not mastered the art. When I get that stick near the frog, he shoots off across the pool like he is racing in the Olympics. I guess I don’t speak frog, so they don’t trust me. I’ve heard there is more than one way to skin a cat. Well, there obviously is also more than one way to catch a frog too.
To be a successful frog whisperer, or horse whisperer, takes patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self- control. If those sound familiar, that’s because they are more than half of the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) Those characteristics will help tame people too. They work on the one who possesses them, as well as the people he is around.
— Bill King is a native of Rainsville, where he and his wife graduated from Plainview High School. King is a director of missions in Opelika, a writer, musician and author. His column appears in the Times-Journal Thursdays edition. Visit brobillybob.com for more information.