I’m excited to see things starting to open back up in Michigan, but as they to go back to “normal,” I hope we don’t go there fearfully.
I know there are plenty of uncertainties, but we can’t let that be an excuse for pausing our lives any longer and forgoing the progress we all were making. We can’t be afraid to move forward. I think we can take a lesson about this from the farmers.
Not one of them has stopped working since all of this started. In fact, this is their busy season. Fields are being worked, crops are being planted, animals are being born, fed, and bred again — there’s a lot going on. And you know what? Even if there was no pandemic, they would still have the most uncertain job in the world. They control so little of what actually happens. All they can do is keep their equipment running, plant the crops, breed the animals, and hope for the best.
There are thousands of farmers across the Midwest, and even thousands more across the country, planting seeds right now with no guarantee of sprouting and producing a wonderful field of crops. They can work the ground, spray the plants, and even irrigate the fields to give them the best chance possible, but sometimes not even that is enough to overcome the cold springs that just drag on or the hot Julys that see very little rain.
I remember last spring my dad was so frustrated because it wouldn’t stop raining. I don’t think he finished planting until well into June. And then, as if to make up for the immense amount of rain in the spring, it barely rained in July. Too wet, too dry, there’s rarely a happy in-between. But he and my grandpa kept going, they did their best, and they harvested what they could that fall.
Many of those farmers who are busy planting crops are busy raising animals too, and that’s no easy feat either. This is Chance’s third year of breeding and raising his own cattle and I will be the first to tell you that it’s also anything but certain. You’ve got to get the cows bred in the first place which can sometimes take several tries. And then there’s the pregnancy and the actual birth which is all pretty risky. Chance has had a lot of false alarms and many early mornings with those mammas.
After all of that, you hope the calves stay alive long enough to make weight to sell to another kid for fair or to feed out for meat. And not to mention all of the feeding, watering, fence-building, shot-giving, pasture-growing, hay-bailing parts just to keep them alive and safe.
And can we just take a moment to remember the investment that this all takes? Land, barns, equipment, seeds, fertilizer, feed…it all adds up real quick. So not only is a farmer’s job incredibly risky, it costs a lot of money, making it even more risky.
Yet they do the same thing again and again each year. It never gets more certain, and I don’t think it really gets any easier, but they still plant their seeds and breed their animals so that we have food to eat.
To famers and their families, thank you for what you do, for the examples that you set, and the lessons that you’ve taught me. You all take a huge risk, work as hard as you can to make it worth it, and you keep the faith and figure it out when things don’t go as planned (which I know happens often). You all have a really important job, and there’s a lot to be proud of, but none of it would happen if you stopped taking the risk and planting with courage.
And that’s what we’ve got to do too. We've got to move on with courage, take some risks, work as hard as we can, and figure things out along the way. I’m sure things won’t feel normal and nothing will be certain, so we’ve got to replace our fear with faith and keep moving forward.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10