Monday, March 21, 2016

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven

Here we are again, planting season. Another March. Another farm year. Let's see....what number is this?

13. Thirteen. The 13th year on the farm for me, anyway. Not sure we could calculate it for the farmer! He's 40 now, so he's probably been at the very least helping with planting season since he was 10? So let's give him 30 13th farm year and his 30th.

Sometimes we get to ease into the season changes of life. Kids growing up is always a slow and gradual fade from childhood. Learning math and reading is a slow progression of knowledge and skill and memory. Becoming a man, or a woman, also seems to take it's time and life has to teach us all sorts of things before we feel grown. But then there are things like becoming a parent. One day the house is quiet and the next there is crying: life will never be the same. And what about losing a loved one? One day their presence is real and present and enjoyed. The next day, the supernatural realm holds them forever and we long for the laughs and the touch of them.

Planting season has no ease. No slow warming up. There is no alarm bell ringing a warning.

One afternoon the farmer is toodling around the yard at 4:30 in the afternoon, the kids are begging him to play baseball....I'm getting dinner ready to have at our normal 5:30 time with all 6 around the table...2 parents are on night-routine duty...then the next night it's only 5 at the table, with a 9pm text "I'm heading in, see you in 30"

Okie dokie, guess that's the signal. 13th Farm Year has commenced!

I hear it all the time: Farming is such a good life! It's a hard life, but a good one!....Farming sounds wonderful!....I wish we would all go back to the way it used to be and we would all have our own farm! And of course I love all the sentiment, really I do. I especially appreciate the folks that understand this type of job comes with a cost to all involved. I will never forget a statement made to Stephen once: "Oh, you're a farmer? So you are one of the few folks left  who actually work for a livin' "

I've always wanted to tell the story of that statement but its not a very long story so I never have. This man was an insurance adjuster for our car insurance. He came out to our house to look at our van once that had a dent. He asked about the land our house was on, and the farmer told him that it was our farm. Then he made his statement above that I have always treasured. He had grown up in Appalachia, the mountains of North Carolina. He cut trees down with hand tools and rolled logs down the hills with his brother, for his grandparents in the 1960's. He understood about a way of life that does hard manual labor for the good of others, for little in return. And I was so thankful that someone understood that concept and gave me that phrase which we often use between us.

I'm not ready, I never am. We have 4 kids, ages 13 down to 4. One parent 6 days a week for those ages just isn't ideal, and I really miss my partner to lean on when the physical and mental work load is often to much for me. Our kids are familiar with the routine of Dad missing dinner and bedtime and they don't complain. I try hard not to either.

Planting season is followed by harvest season, all totaled is about 9 months of the year.

Rain isn't always what the farm needs, but the one blessing rain always brings to us is that Dad is at dinner that night, and there to tuck a few kids in. And God knows that sometimes, we all need that.

What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.  I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;  also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man.
Ecclesiastes 3:9-12