So grateful to start my day with Zoom Church and continue my day outside working on my garden and yard. I tried to bring forth my Father’s farming gene. As I have been taking classes that help me explore my family systems, I know one of the blessings of my Father was his connection with the land and with nature. He was raised on the farm and his biggest adventure was serving in World War II. Perhaps it was because of that service that I found him to be a troubled man, either very angry or very silent. He really wanted a boy. My older sister’s name was to be Thomas John, and well, that didn’t work. So he held out hope I would be a boy and his Thomas John. Even though the name didn’t work; I believe I was his Thomas. I remember the way to spend time with him was to help on the farm. By the time I was 9-years-old I could drive a tractor and help with the field work. The pigs needed feeding early in the morning and at the dusk of day. The farming part provided peace of mind. One of the greatest gifts and engagements I had with my Father was when I was in 4th or 5th grade, and was being bullied. Of course, I didn’t tell my parents. But the effects of the daily onslaught caused me to “be sick” so I didn’t have to go to school. Without me saying anything, my Father figured out I wasn’t really sick and after a couple days, he forced me to go on a walk with him. We walked away from the farm buildings down the back lane that led to the train tracks between two fields of our crops. I don’t remember what he said and I believe we mostly walked in silence. But at some point I remember he shared that when he had troubles, it helped him to get out and walk the land. There were a lot of difficult times with my paternal relationship… however, that walk and that sharing has stuck with me and is a huge blessing. So today, after a time in community praying for concerns and joys of the church family, I got outside, and walked my land. And worked my land. I lost track of time. I heard the birds and saw a few butterflies. I felt the sun shine warmth on my face. I had my hands in the dirt. I planted my urban version of crops. I even wore a straw hat like my Father did, as he worked the fields and drove his orange Alis Chalmers tractor. I could almost feel him tip his hat toward me. In an approving way. As I remember my Father and my blessings this night, I also think of our farm workers. I prayed for those people today… those who are keeping food on many people’s tables; with little pay and many worries. I believe my Father would hold those farm workers in his heart too! So in honor of my ancestors, and today’s farm workers, I offer this prayer this night.
Bless the hands of the people of the earth, The hands that plant the seed, The hands that bind the harvest, The hands that carry the burden of life. Soften the hands of the oppressor and Strengthen the hands of the oppressed. Bless the hands of the workers, Bless the hands of those in power above them That the measure they deal will be tempered With justice and compassion. Amen. - from the National Farm Worker’s Ministry — www.nfwm.org
Originally Published to Facebook on April 27th, 2020 at https://www.facebook.com/creativecarolcelebrant/posts/157337825756417