Patience

Lenten Reflections  2013– Week 1

Temptation.  We know it well.  We joke about it, sing about it, and wrestle with it.  Often, we fall for it, especially if it promises a quick route to what we think we really want.  Do you want to feel good?  Eat some chocolate.  Thirsty?  Drink a soda.  Want love?  Uh, oh – let’s not go there!  Come to think of it, temptation is often about getting something we really need or want by way of a shortcut.

Shortcuts.  They are those things you take to save time, increase efficiency, and generally help out with life, or so we think.  However, my personal experience tells me something else about shortcuts.  They often aren’t.  When I take a shortcut on the farm that I think will save me time, it often ends up costing me plenty.  Leave a gate open thinking that I’ll get back to close it before the cows or horses notice; next thing I know I find myself chasing livestock for an hour all because of that “shortcut.”  Why did I take the shortcut?  Because I tend to be impatient.

Impatience. It’s the thing you learn early on never to pray for.  That prayer guarantees you a tough, challenging day.  I’m an “on-time freak.”  Fifteen minutes early is on time.  I married a wonderful gal who couldn’t begin to tell you what fifteen minutes is.  God not only wanted to teach me patience; He’s taught my wife plenty as well, which leads to the point of this Lenten reflection.

Impatience, shortcuts, and temptation seem to come from my frustration with timing, and specifically, God’s timing in my life.  I just finish reading “Fill These Hearts,” by Christopher West.  West proposes that our original parents – Adam and Eve – sinned when they failed to trust God.  That fruit looked great, she was hungry, and there was that outside voice saying you can’t really trust God, can you?  So Adam and Eve took control of the situation, took matters into their own hands.  Temptation, supported by impatience, offered a shortcut.  And I’m still impatient.

How about those weeds?  Crop rotation takes a long time.  I need to do more, be faster, get more “efficient.”  The temptation is always there, personally and professionally.  America suffers from obesity and type 2 diabetes largely because we’ve decided to take a shortcut to eating.  We have literally eaten the fruit of temptation and it is killing us.  I love the concept of “slow food.”  I sometimes find little patience to practice it.  I’ve been married 20 years; I’m just beginning to know the true nature of love (“love is patient, love is kind…”).  Those weeds aren’t just annoying; they’re a sign of something lacking in my soil.  If I truly love my soil, I need to find out what it needs rather than just spray the weeds out of existence.

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We need to come to a place in our lives where we say faster is not always quicker, more won’t necessarily make me full, and bigger is certainly not better.  We need to tell the “serpents” in our lives to shove it, we need to walk away when we know to, run when we must.  Often, we simply need to listen to the still, small voice that says trust me, wait on me, I will provide your every need in my time.  Amen+

 

The Food Wars

I’d meant the day to be relaxing.  I’d done a little extra feeding the night before, planning to sleep in the next day.  Saturdays are really tough on me especially in the winter.  Because of a commitment I’ve made, I don’t get home until after 11pm on Friday nights and still need to see to the ewes, as this is lambing season.  Saturday begins in the wee hours so I can load the truck and get to the market before 6am.  This combines with my propensity to over indulge my coffee habit to produce a very worn out person by evening.  So I’d planned a relaxing, recharging Sunday with sleep, family time, food, and a little reading catch-up.

It was the last one that got me.  I’ve been getting an ag newspaper since the beginning of the year.  Didn’t order it; didn’t pay for it.  They often do this to show their advertisers a certain circulation level to justify ad prices.  As I read through the paper, I realized why they need to give away.  The farmers they are trying to appeal to are going out of business.  They’re the big guys that need to grow hundreds and thousands of acres of commodity crops (corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton) in order to make a living.

It was the back page.  You know, the inside back page always reserved for the parting shot.  And there was Mr. Black.  Yep, I’d read him before.  Yep, I knew if I read him this time my relaxing day was gone.  And yet, I had to.  He didn’t write anything that hadn’t been written before.  His game is real simple.  Without Monsanto, Dow, and John Deere the world would starve.  “Sustainable farming” is just a term used by educated know-nothings that can hardly feed themselves, let alone the rest of the world.  The true sustainable farmer is the guy who plants the best GMO seed available, is perpetually in debt to John Deere, and doesn’t farm an acre that isn’t sprayed with some chemical miracle after being juiced up with chemical fertilizer.  All other farming is simply “hobby” farming.

After reading that, I decided to check the news headlines for some happy thoughts.  And there it was.  Our generation has worse health than our parents’ generation.  And of course I smiled.  Follow the logic here.  We have more food and worse health.  Just because we can pump out more product per acre doesn’t mean that the product is better.  It only means there’s a lot of it.  Yes, we can produce 200+ bushels of corn on land that in 1930 yielded 50.  But that 1930 corn had far more nutritional value than corn produced last year.  So we need to eat more to compensate.  Enter the concept of the empty calorie.  Now we are on the road to obesity and diabetes, the gifts of modern agriculture.  A pharmacy in a supermarket is not a coincidence, folks.

BourneFarm_WfmFarmRd_08-08-08 (1) About that “not able to feed themselves or anyone else” jargon.  We’re a small enterprise.  Yet The Lamb’s Quarter feeds 90 subscribers each year and over 200 market customers each Saturday.  We keep pushing the boundaries back each year; and we’re doing it on a farm that only has about 30 tillable acres.  What this world needs is not more tech and tractors, but more guys and gals willing to farm.  The expansion of the farm workforce is the ultimate cure for the unemployment line.  Go learn how to feed yourself and some neighbors.