It’s been a long time since I lived on a farm, but there are days when some of my thoughts are tied straight back to my childhood.
A few weeks ago, I woke up to the sound of rain. We’d had rain off and on for a week—not enough to cause any problems but definitely enough to dampen some people’s plans. But as I began to adjust my thinking of the day ahead, I thought: A rain day is often still a good day. Sure, there are times we want the rain to stop, but sometimes we prefer the rain stay away simply out of convenience. I remember seasons of intense field time. When rain interrupted it, my dad or others might be grumpy for a brief time, then readjust to catch up on other tasks that had taken a backseat for days and weeks. A rain day can still be a good day.
A few days after the rain day, I had a conversation with someone I didn’t know well. Our conversation centered around work. We soon realized we were both farm girls, and that explained some things. I was raised to work hard and take responsibility—but not simply in my area of employment. A responsible work ethic seeps into every area of life. Do your best even when you’re just learning, and when you mess up, learn some more. Apply what you know, share what you know, and be willing to change what you know. I’ve applied it to motherhood, home-based work, education, relationships, and traditional workplaces.
Reflecting on farm life always prompts me to think of family and neighbors. Relationships were important. We didn’t always get along, but we still worked together. We did our best to deal with problems without sweeping them under the rug or holding onto grudges or frustration for too long. We asked for help and helped others. We worked hard and also enjoyed celebrations, milestones, and vacations. I learned the important of working on relationships—being sacrificial, humble, and honest. I’m still learning those things. Appreciate the people in your life, and do life with them well.
When I wrote Farm Days years ago, I reflected on memories of several generations growing up on the family farm, but perhaps I don’t pause enough to realize how those memories have become a part of my present. I haven’t lived on a farm for many years, but the farm still lives in me. When I was shopping for my current home, I knew I wanted to live in town. I wanted to be a part of a community—to help and support each other. After all, living life well with others is a long-cultivated practice for me. The fact I chose a house only yards away from the edge of town—and I can see the corn field from my window—was not lost on me. It’s as if I always bring a piece of the country with me wherever I am.