Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Looking Up

You know that thing that happens when you are in a public place and someone stops and just stares up at the sky, so someone else stops to see what they are looking at, then someone else, then someone else and before long there's a group of folks trying to see what the first guy was stopped looking at? Sometimes there is something really neat or rare. Sometimes its just the first guy trying to see how many people will stop and stare at the nothing that he was staring at. 

My life has kind of turned out like that. 

I spent most of my life in a church. I have faith that is rarely shaken. I believe that if my world is God centered other things fall into place. That isn't to say that there's no bad in my life. Sometimes bad things happen. If you will remember one of my past blog posts, Life Support, was about our milk barn burning. That was one of those times when I could have questioned God. But, I had faith that there was something in store for us that was better. And there was. We survived that trial and came out stronger because of it. I believe that looking to God for guidance during that time is what allowed us to get through. That our faith in a greater plan helped us to step back and be blessed. 

I want to spend my life looking to God so intently that the people around me stop to see what I'm looking at. That through my actions I can show my faith. Because without faith we can't do what we do. 

Farming is all about faith. Farmers can't control very many factors that dictate the fruits of the year's labor. Weather, prices, equipment failures, illness, so much more is determined by someone or something other than the farmer. I wish I could find words that convey the emotion and ties that a farmer has to farming. It is not just a job. It is a lifestyle. It is lifeblood. It is everything.

You hear that so many times and lots of people don't believe it. I think it is because our world has evolved into a place where you work because you have to, because you want to make a living, but people hate what they do. They despise the life that they ended up with because they get up every morning and go to a job that doesn't give them joy. And how could someone possibly love getting up at the butt crack of dawn to wade in mud and manure? How could anyone obtain joy by watching something grow so slowly or do the same thing every day in all kinds of weather? How could someone possibly take care of so many animals or acres, watch the animal or crops die, and still want to get up the next morning and pick up where they left off the day before? How can anyone work until their bodies hurt from the physical labor that they put themselves through, sleep a few hours, and wake up ready to go at it again? How can a farmer actually love their chosen profession when it takes such a toll on their lives?

I am not very hands-on when it comes to our farm. The path we chose didn't end up with me being on the farm all the time. The Milkman is 3rd generation. Our farm was established. He grew up doing exactly what he is still doing. Which means that I only complicate things. I am the, work smarter not harder guy, and The Milkman is more of a, how can I do this in the most labor intensive way, kind of guy. We don't exactly do things the same and I am far from a good farm hand. I don't listen and I'm insubordinate. Both of us can hold a grudge that tends to carry over to the in the house, after-hours, mom and dad characters in this play. It is hard for us. I commend the young farmers that decide to take on a farm as a first generation. It is amazing to see the dedication from a couple, or a single, that it takes to start out. It is hard. We built our own herd, purchased much of our own equipment, and changed the way The Milkman's dad did things. We have made this farm our own. I worked out of the home for years before we had kids. The Milkmaids changed things, and I have been able to stay home with them. That isn't to say that I won't ever work on the farm. That day may come, but for now, I take care of the day-to-day, raise Milkmaids, and pay the bills. 

I may not be the one getting up every day and going out into the elements to take care of our herd, but I live with the guy that does. I love the man that has dedicated his life to doing something we can be proud of. He doesn't do anything for fame or fortune, for the money (what would that be like?), or even for recognition. He farms because of his deep love for watching things grow and being a part of it. Seeing the miracles that are rare for the general population to witness. The Milkman's passion for the outdoors, for the land, the water, the animals is far beyond any post I can write. There just aren't words. And even though you would be hard pressed to hear a farmer talk about his farm with beautiful words, you can listen to their stories, see the lines on their faces collect tears and turn up in a smile all in one tale. You can hear their stories of trial and triumph, loss and gain, and of the pain they have endured and the joy that made it worth it. You really haven't seen happiness until you walk through a seemingly barren field and watch a farmer smile with their whole body because the wheat they planted is peeking up out of the dirt. And they have to physically bend down and touch the plant for anyone else to see it. You've never seen glee like that of a farmer, shoulder deep in blood and afterbirth, who just pulled a calf and saved it and its momma. That, my friends, is joy. It is real love and passion for what they do.

I wasn't ever a big dreamer. I thought I wanted to grow up and be an astronaut or a marine biologist. Unfortunately, flying and water both make me motion sick, so I never pursued those careers, nor did I want to put the effort into achieving those goals. I wasn't the girl that grew up dreaming of a big wedding or being a mom. As far as I can remember I grew up knowing there was a plan for my life and I would follow where that road took me. I didn't always like the scenery, but it led me right where my happiness lies. Any dream I had for myself became intertwined with one guy. The Milkman himself. Maybe this was easy for me because I didn't have those lofty goals and ideas of fairy tale marriages, but I turned the Milkman's dreams into my own. When I saw my guy standing there, staring at the sky, I walked up to him, took his hand, and looked up. 

Maybe I get in the way when we are working cows together. It's possible that we argue because we don't have the same way of doing things. But maybe the reason we don't see eye to eye is because we are both too busy looking at the sky, at the same big dreams, with the same big faith. And as long as we are looking in the same direction we can keep on the same path. As long as we keep our faith and love for what we have, the path may zig zag and loopty loop, but we will end up at the same destination, achieving his dreams that became my dreams, and basking in the joy that comes with sticking it out and doing what you love with the person that you love. 

Take a minute and look at the sky. There may not be anything there, but you may find everything you didn't know you hoped for. At the very least, a bunch of nosey folks may stop and look with you.