|Resurrection Lilies From Past Years|
Saturday, July 28, 2012
It's Funny What You Pray For
Owning an old farm changes your life in so many ways, or at least it has mine. I chose to live in the city and use the old farm as a retreat, as I lease the farm ground out anyway. This farm has been in my family for many generations; I was raised there; if ever I had a “sense of place” or belonging, it is there. So when I visit, I embrace it almost as though it is a person – in a way, it is. It was home to the people I loved and still love.
One learns to care for a farm much like a person. When there is abundance and joy, one celebrates with it. When there is stress and pain, one suffers with it. And so, one learns to pray for it as one would a person – for its health, its welfare, its future. Today was a day that many prayers went up on its behalf. I surely hope God wasn’t too confused with the traffic.
As Kansas is experiencing a severe drought and heat wave, I awoke this morning at 5:00 a.m. to travel and arrive before unbearable heat at the farm. This isn’t just one of those stress times for the old place; this is dangerously severe, killing heat time. The morning began with a prayer that the land had received just a little moisture from the “scattered” thunderstorms this week.
I drove into the driveway to find we had received the windstorm portion of the storms, but not the rain. Limbs were scattered. All plant life was as stressed as ever. The grasshoppers continue to strip the trees and shrubs, having removed all the foliage from other plants. The gardens remind me of the depictions of earth in end-of-earth-after-bomb films.
What, I questioned, does one try to pray for? For rain? For strength to endure? For pity or compassion? That God care for us and help us through this terrible drought? I even thought of prioritizing – perhaps God could at least save the big trees if not the new ones. Perhaps a few of the shrubs or just one or two flowers? I used all those prayers - and more. Watching my farm die makes my heart hurt. I felt like sitting on the ground and weeping.
A little work always helps, so I backed out the big mower and decided to tackle the yard this day. I hadn’t mowed for weeks, thinking a few stems might shade the earth. So I made quick work of that and mowed around the trees as I let a soaker hose do its work. As I cleared a tall juniper, I got a little close and suddenly a limb caught my glasses and flung them off. In panic, I stopped the mower, before I mowed them over, I hoped.
A couple of facts might be helpful here – first, I can’t see anything but large objects without glasses and second, these glasses are ultra-lightweight ones without frames. They are nearly invisible. And so, I looked around for the flung lenses in a sea of blurred shades. It was useless. I tried to problem solve. I knew there wasn’t a second pair at the farmhouse as I had a new prescription and brought the spare to town. Couldn’t find a pair in the car so I tried the binoculars. Hey, sounds silly, but it was worth a try. Of course the binoculars produced the same blur at close distance as my own eyes and it was then I began to wonder what prayer might be appropriate. A good plead seemed appropriate – “God, please help me find my glasses.” And sure enough, a thought came to me that led me to the spare lenses in my purse and then to locating the glasses. A prayer answered!
My farmer neighbor came by just about the time I found my glasses. He had been out carrying water to the livestock tanks. “Hey, you need a little water?” he asked, gesturing to the big tank on the back of his truck.
“Oh, dear Lord, you’re there for me today!” I thought as I hugged my neighbor for his generosity. With a high capacity tank, I was able to give my new trees sixty gallons of water each – although they were still in need. He may have saved them for me.
If God is keeping a list of prayers, he must think mine are a strange lot. I’ve prayed for cows, for kittens, for sanity, for all kinds of weather, concession of all manner of situations and commencement of even more. I’ve prayed, pleaded, promised, begged, jumped in joy, cried in appreciation and wept in prayerful confusion. Hopefully, not all in one day, but who knows.
Today was an interesting prayer day. As I “saddled up” and headed for the city, I shook my head in amusement. It is surely funny what one prays for. And the answers always come.