It’s not natural to my personality to peacefully accept a major change of plans, loss, or inefficiency; I was type A since toddlerhood and my earliest memories revolve around what I wanted to accomplish and how I could motivate those around me to cooperate. Ask my siblings; they laugh about my slave driving tendencies as a juvenile, and my comical moments of pulling on their ears in frustration while trying to get them to clean their rooms or sweep the kitchen.
I can’t figure where my expectation that life should go according to plan, and that loss and disorder are the exception, came from. Maybe it was just wishful, childish thinking that was mistakenly confirmed in church. There I learned to follow the rules and do things God’s ways, and in turn He would protect and bless me (although the basic teaching is a good foundation to begin with, there is meant to be something more complicated built on this.) Along with realizing my motives were misaligned (I believe God wants our heart and love for Him to stimulate obedience, not sacrificial good works to earn His love and favor or manipulating Him to make our plans succeed,) I see how this expectation of smooth sailing has more than once caught me off guard to storms that capsized my boat. I’m currently coughing up salty sea water (figuratively) from my latest choppy wave sailing experience.
Thankfully, the book I’ve been reading this month has helped me process the frustration and loss I’ve been grappling with since establishing Thirsty Goose Farm two years ago this month. As I’ve written previously, God has kindly revealed truths about Himself (and myself) as I wrestled with nature (mostly unsuccessfully.) In Richard Rohr’s book “Falling Upward- A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life” he says, “…life is not, nor ever has been, a straight line forward….. life is characterized much more by exception and disorder than by total or perfect order. Life, as the biblical tradition makes clear, is both loss and renewal, death and resurrection, chaos and healing at the same time; life seems to be a collision of opposites…..Life is inherently tragic, and that is the truth that only faith, but not our seeming logic, can accept.”
He continues to explain our how our western world view has created a resistance to loss, hardship and mystery. We want it all worked out, “the answer that settles all the dust and resolves every question- even when it is not entirely true- over the mercy and grace of God.” Many of the so called “primitive” people groups are known for their resilience in the face of adversity and a natural acceptance that life is hard.
“In the divine economy of grace, sin and failure become the base metal and raw material for the redemption experience itself. Much of organized religion, however, tends to be peopled by folks who have a mania for some ideal order, which is never true, so they are seldom happy or content.” Ouch
Maybe I am the thirsty goose, learning to drink of the Living Water as I wander these seven acres and squawk my frustration! Now there’s a strange picture…..
As I have been chewing on this reality of tragedy and crooked lines, my wise and seasoned friend (who happens to be living with us for a few months, hallelujah!) has encouraged me to “look at what is good, consider what is working.” She compassionately winces at my losses and gently lifts my spirits back up. I’ve tried to follow her advice this week and take notice of the good stuff here. First, I am blessed in this season to have three women living with us; they have all been witness to my desperate grasping of the boat as these nasty waves are crashing over me (along with the farm have been many challenges in our family). Their presence and kindness are continual reminders of God’s presence and love in my life. Truly, people are what matter- and we have been enormously blessed by the people God has brought to live with us, live beside us and visit from faraway places. Every encounter has eternal value. If absolutely nothing was ever produced here, we would still be rich from relationships.
Besides the most important blessing of people, there are actually some surviving plants and animals! With a heart thankful for the blessings and learning to accept the losses and challenges, I tried to capture snapshots of “the good stuff” while doing my chores. What you can’t hear in the pictures is the beautiful conglomeration of birdsong in the air at all times, even in the middle of the night! And you can’t feel our constant, gentle breeze or smell the jasmine, lavender and lemon balm. For the full goodness experience you will have to visit:)