Harvest Time October 23, 2017
When I was in 4th grade, our family returned to Pendleton, Indiana, where my parents had grown up. Dad’s friend, Blair Finkenbinder (who worked at the Farm Bureau CoOp), persuaded him to start a garden on our farm. It was a 3 acre truck patch that employed myself and my brother Steve, and eventually Barbara and Roger as they got older. Picking 100 DOZEN ears of corn before driver’s education was a normal day. Tomatoes, green beans, red and yellow onions, zucchini, cukes and “mangos” (most call them green peppers). The profits funded college funds for four kids, and fed us with Indiana harvest.
Beyond the sweat and mud…there is something deep in my soul that loves harvest time. Nothing compares to the taste of a ripe tomato, sun warmed and just picked. Or sweet corn picked just as the water is put on to boil.
I took a couple of nights of sabbath and traveled to Hueston Woods State Park in SW Ohio last week. I drove through lake-bottom flat fields, on to rolling glacial till; all were harvest ripe with soy beans and corn. I captured photos that reveal hard working land-connected families: my heart rejoiced to see a barn with “established 1901” on the side, and the same family name on the current family mailbox. Sometimes, amid ancient oaks and maples there is a new prefab home; but I also passed well porched, brick farmhouses with upgraded barns, revealing homesteads where harvest, fallow fields, spring hope and summer fullness have been a way of living for 200 years.
It is also a season of Harvest here in Greenfield as we live, as a family, with ALS. At least 3 of Roger’s 5 children are coming to see him next week, another is coming this week. They live scattered out, none old enough to be preparing for the death of their father. Learning and grieving from ALS will lead us toward a feeding tub later this fall, as decided by Roger who appreciates daily life, Colt FB games, visits, Bingo and outings.
Harvesting my work as a chaplain/pastor, I bring forward the gift of Ira Byock’s FOUR THINGS THAT MATTER MOST. His brief U-Tube is worth saving, and watching a couple of times.
The link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcMmx-6RIUY the words are:
Please forgive me / I forgive you / thank-you / I love you
Time and Space have no meaning; my parents died in 1983 & 1997 yet I used this frame several years ago to write to mom, and recently to my dad. It made a difference to me, and I believe somehow to them as well. I will invite Roger and his children to think of these phrases as they visit in the coming days.
There are plenty of regrets that we can bury ourselves with. Better, I think to give them voice and forgiveness, and seek forgiveness as needed. I ran away to college, seminary and the UMC to get away from parental dynamics that I could not fix, abandoning those I had been charged to care for as the “big sister”. Now I am noticing, appreciating and reaping the harvest of a lifetime of being connected this place, these people, myself, and all that I have intersected with in my of living.
Happy 65th Birthday to me on October 26!
Please forgive me, I forgive you, Thank-you, I love you.