Recently two significant events have deepened my appreciation for acts of faith done with patience.
First, we bought a small farm. In April, my family moved to East Marysville, which happens to have a Granite Falls address. (You can’t see my face, but I typed that with a smirk.) It used to be a part of a bigger farm that previous owners parceled off to fund their children’s education. While it’s only three and a half acres, it’s a lot of work just to keep up, let alone to make forward progress on our ambitious visions for the house and land. We have ten chickens, some young fruit trees, a pathetic vegetable garden, and all the weeds a farmer could want. We also have some fields that I’d like to convert to more space for my kids (and their kids) to be able to run around and kick a ball. It’s a great start, and we are very excited. We love it, but it will be years before we are making good use of the space.
Second, I went to Europe. Two months after moving, I was able to join the Raggants on the trip to the U.K. and Normandy. A number of things impressed me there, which gave me encouragement to stay the course with my little farm. I was impressed that our going to look at really old things presupposed that those things were, in fact, built to last. The first site we really enjoyed was St. Paul’s Cathedral, which took a scant 35 years to build. We walked along Hadrian’s Wall, which is still standing after nearly 2000 years. We saw thousands of acres of farmland that took generations of cultivation to be free from stumps and rocks. We may be trapped in the current moment when looking at them, but they didn’t become presentable overnight.
Back to the farm, and particularly to those fields I need to clear. They are full of rocks. Thousands and thousands of rocks the size of golf balls that won’t grow grass, won’t feel nice underfoot, and will destroy a lawnmower. We are raking them up and shoveling them away. As I write this, we are about ten percent finished with the job. It’s going much slower than I thought it would, and one of my kids has referred to it as the toughest task she’s ever faced.
In a fast-paced society and a culture rife with immediate gratification, clearing a field of rocks by hand is good work. Part of me wants to rent a rock picker or to haul in 600 yards of topsoil to bury those rocks. But ten years from now, will I regret having cleared that field by hand? Probably not. Will my grandkids probably be glad I did? I think so.
Looking ahead to the school year before us, it’s helpful to be reminded that while children do grow up quickly, the work we are doing is not just for them. It’s for the current generation of Raggants and their kids….and their kids…and the communities in which they live. There is no quick fix, no power equipment that can do it for us. But if we do it well, maybe future generations will be able to look on our work – done in faith and with patience – and praise God for His grace to them.
– The U.H.