A Hog In A Trough

By Joseph J. Mazzella • April 9, 2013

When I was a boy my family used to raise hogs during the Summer to keep us fed through the Winter. As I got older it became my job to feed them everyday. My Grandma worked in the kitchen of a Summer camp across the road from us and the director let us have the leftover food scraps for the hogs. I remember lugging the huge pails of slop from the camp's kitchen, down the hill and across the wooden swinging bridge that spanned the river by our house. Then it was another 50 yards up the railroad tracks that ran along the other side our home until I finally reached the pig pen. It always stunk mightily of mud and as much as my arms ached I still tried to fill the trough as fast as possible before my stomach soured.

One year we had a particularly big, brutish, and nasty hog that would bully the other pigs in the pen. Before I would even fill the trough he would climb inside it and stand guard. He would then eat until his stomach was about to burst before he would allow the other two pigs to eat as well. It was so disgusting to watch. Once or twice I even pushed him with a stick to try to get him out of the trough but it was to no avail. Even though there was always enough food for all three pigs. He was determined never to share even if he had to shower in slop.

I did learn one thing from that petulant pig, though, and that was the stupidity of selfishness. His selfishness didn't add a single day to his life. Nor did it give him one moment of joy. I would shake my head when he groaned in pain from eating too much every day, but he never did learn his lesson.

As I grew up and the years passed I noticed a lot of other hogs in troughs as well. They may not have had four legs and a snout, but they were just as selfish and just as miserable. They would gorge themselves with money, sex, drugs, and alcohol day after day giving no thought to others, yet their smiles never widened and their hearts never opened. They never saw that they were stupidly spending their days chasing after sad substitutes of what really was important. They never experienced the joy of love and sharing that makes Earth feel like Heaven. They never allowed God to fill the emptiness they felt within. They never realized that it is in giving that you receive the most.

God loves us and always is ready to give us all we need. We can accept His love and abundance with joy and share it with everyone, or we can be a hog in trough filling ourselves with slop, selfishness, and misery. The choice is ours. Choose well.


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