The year of 2020 has truly been a ride, and we have only made it through July. Amongst global pandemics and food shortages, increasing political tensions and conspiracy theories, there hardly seems any time to encounter other stressors and concerns. Unless, of course, you work in agriculture.
Here in my small part of the world, we also get to add the weight of drought, unbearable winds, and record-breaking heat to the mix. The crops are stressed, the pests are abundant, and of course our crop dusting season is in full-swing. I have become so overwhelmed on these long, hot days worrying about the outlook for my business; not to mention the fate of our new farm. This is our first year in production with it and of course it is laden with struggles.
It is nice, however, to have something to pour yourself into. There is so much peace to be found as your sweat pours into the ground and your hands begin to blister working towards your dream. I have always felt like God is closest when I toil hardest, that when all the distractions are cut loose and you’re left alone with the earth, a shovel, and your internal struggle against your physical form, thats where He meets you.
We planted just shy of two acres into a garden, with tomatoes and squash and cabbage galore. Below you’ll see a row of tomatoes, fresh and young and succulent against the hard and dry dirt. Somedays I am the dirt, somedays the tomato.
We also planted nearly thirty acres of sunflowers this spring, and some sweet corn seed. The sunflowers are a new crop for me and my honey, starting with a new contract he struck with the local ag center and ending in a new set of growing pains for us. We no more than got these beauties to germinate than an awful hail storm came through and broke off the majority of them and turned our soil into a six inch slab of cement the late-bloomers stood no chance of coming through.
Time after time this year we have come face-to-face with another road block, another problem, another struggle. Our faith has been tested, our patience waned, and our optimism crushed. This farm has cried for more hard work than either of us thought we had to give — but hey, thats where Gods found!
Through these trials and tribulations our faith is growing deeper and stronger. It isn’t bold and outspoken, and you wouldn’t see it just from looking at us. But working this hard, pouring this much out, and trusting the impossible outcomes time and time again have changed us both internally. Little by little the roots grow deeper and more steadfast, and although you can’t see that cottonwood’s roots, you can be sure they’re deep enough and strong enough to weather the storm.
And hey, when at the end of it all the flowers still bloom, you’ll know it was all worth it. Its a long row to hoe, but the growth is ever evident.