When people think about life on a farm, they think of life. Sunrises over the eastern horizon bringing the life-giving light upon which all depends. Calves suckling. Lambs--who couldn’t adore the face of a lamb? Spirited bucklings bounding with joy. Seedlings bursting from fertile soil.
But openness to life means openness to death. Because life is guaranteed to fail. In this world, no matter how careful you are, life doesn’t last. There is a reason new farmers are warned not to name their animals. Because when you name something it becomes real to you--you are now attached. Connected. God made Adam's first job to name the animals. He wanted Adam to connect with creation. To connect with the creatures around him. To invest himself.
After sin entered the world, the first death also entered. God Himself killed a created life to make skins to cover the nascent shame that Adam and Eve felt so keenly. No doubt this was a creature that Adam had named. Every time he looked down at himself, he could see the skin of the animal, the trusting life he had once loved, now snuffed out by his sin. A bitter lesson.
In marriage, husband and wife are called to be open to life. To welcome new life that may spring from their union. It may well be the greatest adventure of their union. The couple’s willingness to accept new life is a daring, one might even say, reckless trust. When you welcome new life, you have no idea what this new child may be--boy or girl; healthy or suffering defects; joyful or sullen; a helper or someone who will require years of patient help. Even openness to the possibility that the new life--the new child--will die, leaving the parents with nothing but memories and painful unfulfilled dreams. The mother herself may suffer, struggle, even give up her own life for the life inside her. Is it any wonder many couples try to wrest control from the hands of God? To close themselves to this reckless abandon?
November is the month of dying. Leaves have mostly fallen. The joyfulness that caused them to burst out in that lovely yellowish-green hue that makes my heart sing has long since faded to dry, crackling bland tan brittleness that is only fit for burning. The widowed branches scratch the cold sky, looking forlorn and heart-breakingly empty. The reality of the long winter ahead is inescapable now, making one pause and shudder.
Yet the Earth is merely waiting. Taking a moment to pause and rest. Taking a season to rest from its labors of creation so that it is strengthened to do it all once again. Resist the temptation to yield to despair. Endure the Sabbath rest of Winter in order to rejoice anew in the loveliness of Spring. This is the ultimate test of Hope. Hope is believing that good things will come, though there be pain and toil and loss and dying in the meanwhile. Be not afraid.
Chris & Stelle
Blogged by Christopher and Christelle of Claret Farm
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