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17

An open letter to my husband, my family and farming friends:

I see you.

I see you checking your phone to see what the weather is going to do, what the markets did, and what the latest news story is on your profession. I see you praying silently at church and wonder if you are asking for a rebound in the markets or are just thanking our Lord for a healthy family and a roof over their heads.  I see you teaching the next generation how to conserve and care for the land because it is the only one we will ever get. I see the worry in your eyes when more severe weather is on its way. I see you looking up to those that have gone before you seeking or at least wondering what their advice would be.


I hear you.

I hear you cussing and becoming short-tempered as Flood Creek is once again teasing the edges of her banks and threatening to rip out the fence that your family spent hours putting back up after her last rage.  I hear you (under your breath) asking, “Why do we do this?” But then I see the grin on your face when a healthy calf hits the ground. I hear your frustration when parts break and machines quit working. 

I smell you.

I smell the sweat from a hard day's work that often starts before the sun comes up and ends when the stars are out. I smell the manure that you are hauling to fertilize our fields and to create a comfortable, clean space for our animals.  I smell the fresh cut hay as it lay waiting to be baled to feed our cattle and provide income for our family.

I feel you.

I feel the pain that you’re feeling when you turn the other cheek to a critic about your profession or those people blasting comments about taking the insurance check.  I feel your frustration when that heifer we set up the perfect artificial insemination protocol for came back into heat or when the rain came right before our intended hay baling date. I feel you tossing and turning at night, unable to sleep because you are thinking about what to plant and how much grain to sell and thinking about how you will get it all done.

I taste you. 

I taste your hard work in the meat that you raised and the crops that you produced when we sit down at our table to enjoy a meal with our family and friends. I taste the blood, sweat, and tears that went into creating every ounce.

To all farmers, ranchers, and farming families. I see you. We see you. I see you because I am standing behind you every step of the way.  I keep it my goal to stay positive for our community, share what life on our farm is like, to provide a strong arm to hold you up when you want to fall and to encourage you to keep going when you feel like stopping.

Do you see us? Do you see what the farmers and ranchers are trying to do? I challenge you to make sure you are truly seeing what is going on around you.

I see you, from the gravel road-

Jen

2

Last weekend Father Brunkan gave that same knock me over the head message that I was needing to hear at the exact moment that he gave it…

Photo courtesy of Brenda Schmitt at Family Fun Night, Roseville

Father Brunkan told a story of a little boy and his interest in a cocoon that a man had.  The man had told the young boy not to touch or bother the cocoon. As time passed the young boy saw the butterfly inside starting to beat its wings against the inside of the cocoon.  The young boy panicked and did the opposite of his instructions and broke open the cocoon to help the butterfly get out. To his amazement the butterfly didn’t flutter away, instead, it dropped to the ground and died.  The boy was embarrassed and sheepishly returned to the man. The man explained to him that the butterfly NEEDED to struggle and beat its wings against the cocoon to build the strength to survive outside of the cocoon.

Parenting

The first thing that popped into my head-Parenting!  As parents, there are so many times that we want to just fix things for our kids, especially when they are living in our homes (cocoons).  It is so hard to watch them make bad decisions, big mistakes, and get their hearts broke. It would be SO easy to talk to that coach for them, call that teacher, or chew out that other kid that stomped on their precious heart. BUT, that does not help them build their wings and fly.  As hard as it is to witness sometimes, we have to let our children flap their wings and struggle. If we as parents don’t let them struggle they will never, ever be able to fly on their own.

Life

Then I thought about was myself.  There have been SO many times that I have asked why?  Asked the question about why certain things have happened in my life. Why Crohn's? Why meningitis? Why have I had to lose good people in my life? I guess the why might be to strengthen my wings. Had I not been through all of my health struggles I might not be such an understanding person.  Had I not had meningitis I might have chosen to live my life in a different manner and not be a person that focused on dreaming big and huge. The struggle has gotten me where I needed to be today!

Agriculture

Lastly, I started thinking about our agriculture community. We have been hit hard!  I would venture to guess that most farmers and ranchers would tell you that they don’t feel like a butterfly trying to flap their wings to strengthen them, but they feel like the butterfly that is trying to remove itself from the grill of a Chevy that was driving down a blacktop in rural Iowa.  It’s hard, EVERYONE is asking why. Why so much rain? Why floods? Why the prices? While I don’t know the answer to why I do know that there is no better community to witness coming together than the agriculture community. In hard times and time of loss of life, farmers and ranchers, resemble a roost of monarchs coming together and those farmers will beat their wings just as hard as those monarchs headed south to help a neighbor in need.  I pray that we continue to keep that same courage to keep flapping through this hard season of life, encouraging each other to look ahead and I know buried deep somewhere there is a plan to make us all stronger by beating our wings through it.

What does Father's story make you think about? If you have a favorite story from Father Brunkan I would love to hear it, you can write it in the comments.

From the gravel road-

Jen  

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