In the midst of one of those jumps, she moved sideways and landed on my right foot. The bruise wrapped from one side to the other and from my ankle to my toes.
But I could still walk. Thankfully.
I limped for a week and then the pain settled to a dull ache. In hindsight, I probably should have gotten an x-ray. Now I’m fairly certain I must have broken or fractured a few bones. This is an assumption based on the fact that almost a year later, it still bothers me. I can ignore it most of the time but it’s particularly bad right before a storm. (You should have seen me limp before the hurricane came through!)
Farming is rough. It can beat you right up and leave you wondering what in the world possessed you to attempt such a thing. It can wear away at your body and strength until all you can think about is just one day off.
I wasn’t sure about including “farming” in my week of thanks posts, simply because while it is hard, I also love it. I love the beauty and the dirt and the harshness and the peace. I love the rush of getting crops in and the warm summer days watching them grow. I love running barefoot through the grass and digging in rich soil. I love the animals and the sound of cows chewing their cud and the scent of hay as bales are broken open and fed. I love that I work with my husband and the kids (even if they aren’t ours) can be included and taught about life and work and food and environment.
But it is hard.
It’s hard to be caught tight on a schedule and not be able to enjoy evenings with friends (very often, anyway). It’s hard to struggle through the months when my husband’s back is hurting and I’m left to milk alone. It’s hard when the barn takes all of my energy and the house gets messier and messier and suddenly, someone stops in who frowns at the pile of dirty dishes and the dirt on the floor and I just want to say, “You do my work AND clean the house THEN come frown at me.” It’s hard when some friendships fall away because, to be honest, it’s impossible to understand the demands of farming unless you farm. It’s hard when you’re left to deal with dead animals and all the gruesomeness of birth and sickness and diseases.
I could list more hard things but I think you get the idea.
Yet, I’m thankful. Oh, so very thankful.
- I’m thankful for the land. The way our farm spreads out in every direction and the way the sun rises and sets over it. I’m thankful for the way that God speaks to me through the beauty and the glory.
- I’m thankful for the hard work. For the knowledge of hard days of labor from morning to night and the understanding that this is what has to happen to sustain life. Even if you buy your food from a store, someone, somewhere, worked to provide it.
- I’m thankful for real food. For the ability to bring milk from my cows into my kitchen and turn it into butter and cheese and yogurt. For the vegetables that grow in my garden, the wheat in my fields. For the beef and the pork that come to my freezer from my barn. And even the eggs and chicken that I get from neighbors (my husband hasn’t been convinced to raise chickens yet. Bad childhood experiences. I’m working on him!)
- I’m thankful that I’ve learned dependence on my true strength. There was a time, a few months back, when my husband had to leave town for several days. The second day of feeding hay had left my hands raw and blistered. We have wire-tied bales and I couldn’t find the wire cutters. (My husband has since bought me a pretty pink pair that are all mine.) But that evening I stood in the manger and cried because my hands hurt so badly and I had no choice but to keep hurting them. And God spoke, right there in the manger (why would that surprise me?) and said, Tasha, why don’t you ask me for strength? So I did. I finished feeding the hay without a single blister breaking open. The next morning my brother stopped in to see how I was doing. He tore apart the bales with his callused, work-worn hands and I wept in awe of a God who is faithful.
Again, I could go on and on. I could write stories upon stories. In fact, a large portion of this blog is filled with the tales of how God has spoken to me through farming.
And today, again, I am thankful for this hard thing in my life. I’m thankful for farming.
Is your work difficult? Can you find something to be thankful for in it?