There is a passion in my husband that I admire.
Crisp autumn air. Crunchy leaves underfoot. Field corn in my clothes washer. Dusty dirt tracked into every corner of the house. These are a few signs that it’s harvest time. Typically we clear our calendars starting in mid-September with the hope that we’ll be in the field harvesting the crops of corn and soybeans. But not this year. Week in and week out my husband Travis prays for the weather that we need in spite of the forecast. And this year, rain just keeps crowding out the sun. The fields are wet which means large combines and tractors will sink right in to the mud. The sun has been hiding which means the corn and beans have too much moisture to harvest. The days are getting shorter and shorter, and yet our combine sits motionless in the shed.
This has been a hard year for farmers – starting last spring. There was so much snow that without adding higher fences, our beef cattle could literally walk right out of their pens. Feeding the cows became increasingly labor-intensive as their food - hay and alfalfa - ran short. When the snows melted we had flooded pens to deal with. Because the rains kept coming, we weren’t able to plant all of our corn and had to switch to soybeans because they have a shorter growing season. Then, the constant rain drowned out patches of crops, and it was very difficult to get any grass cut let alone baled. Various other setbacks have happened bringing the flood of frustration into the summer and then the fall.
The joke in my family is that my mother told me who is a farmer's daughter, “Never marry a farmer!” But, in typical Julia-spirit, I did it anyway. The truth is my mother may have loved Travis before I did, and there was never a day that she wouldn’t have encouraged me to agree to be his wife. However, when I grow frustrated with the way that farming encroaches upon every inch of our calendar or when the weary of the worry has grown to be too much, we are able to laugh – because she told me so. After all, I did choose this.
In some families all of this causes a cloud of grumpiness to rest upon their homes. But not in ours. My husband’s faith is clearest in these days. I wish I could say that I am a constant source of encouragement for my husband. But, I cannot. When I’m ready to quit, he lovingly reminds me that our lack of control of the weather brings us to our knees faster than most of the things in our lives today. We can control the temperature in our homes. We can fix many of the sicknesses we come upon. We can manipulate, manage and rule over most of the obstacles that we face. But not farming. When the rain comes, we pray. When the sun shines, we pray. When the hail moves toward us, we pray. When the snows are predicted, we pray. When machines break down, money is short or tasks are burdensome, we pray. And, resting in the power of the Most High God is right where we want to be.
This week the energy of harvest has tiptoed in. The hum of combines in fields, the dust in the air from taking crops out of fields, and the sweet smell of crumpled corn stalks fills the air. And, we pray. We pray for safety. We pray for machines that don’t break down. We pray for sunny skies. And, we pray prayers of praise as we see the multitude of ways that God has again provided for us…even when we couldn’t see it.
Yes, there is a passion in my husband that I admire. And, together we pray.