Pop and I had a busy day today. He was off work, so of course we worked at home! He has had plans for some time to clean up the "mountain" by our pond. I helped him for part of the day planting grass and clearing brush. What Pop sees as he does the work is our children and our grandchildren enjoying the pond, the dam, and the hill. He sees sledding in the winter and picnics in the spring, summer, and fall. He envisions a bench atop the hill for us to enjoy watching the kids as they play. The work he does is not for him.
Later in the day, I left Pop still working on the hill and headed back to the house to do one of the things on my list. I needed to seal the porch decking today so it will be ready for winter. In the quiet of the afternoon I thought about the work we do at Four Sisters Farm. As I applied the sealer, stroke by stroke with a wide paintbrush, a thought came to me softly from somewhere deep within..."The work you are doing isn't for you."
I paused and pondered that thought and realized how true it is. Oh, it is "our" place; "our" house; "our land." In reality, it belongs to God like all things and we are the grateful stewards of what He chooses to give us.
The work isn't about us at all...this place is a tool to be used as God sees fit. We bought the place knowing that God had plans for it that we knew nothing about. It brings us joy to share it with our family and our friends; and to wait and see what God will do with it...and us.
As I continued painting, I came across the dents in the porch decking made by our young superheroes with small hammers. I had no idea how strong they were (and are)! Then I came across evidence of spilled wine that Daina and I enjoyed as we played with tiny kittens one evening. There are red marks from the rocking chairs I painted for EJ and Farm Chick when they lived here that defy being covered by the "honey oak sealer" and skid marks from a small bicycle that was ridden on the porch when it rained one day. As I came across each of those "scars" on the porch, the memories associated with them warmed my heart. We could sand out those stains and dents...but why?
Those imperfections in the porch are hallmarks of our lives here. They reflect the growth of our grandchildren. They bring to mind times we have sat on the porch...We once sat there with friends on a summer evening, sharing funny stories until it was later than any of us intended to stay up. Another time, Jewel and I sat in rocking chairs praying for her mom when she was taken to the hospital (glad to say she is fine and still baking pies). Of course, our Fourth of July fireworks are viewed from the porch as well as our annual costume parade of the grandchildren at our family fall party.
I realize that the work Pop and I are doing out here at Four Sisters Farm, means so much more than just physical labor.
As we work, the images that come to our minds have far greater implications than completing the task at hand... We see our young grand children at play...our children visiting and drinking coffee on the porch...evenings spent with friends...sunrises and sunsets...changing seasons...new phases of our lives coming.
Ecclesiastes 3:9-13, "What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil -- this is the gift of God."