The Heartbreak of Farming
Farming is hard work. I suppose that is something that most people understand to be true. But farming is not only physically hard, it is spiritually hard as well. While each day is approached with strength of will and best intentions, that never seems to be enough. The farmer must give everything he is to that land. He will plant seed and fertilize, mow, and manage weeds and pests. He will diligently watch the weather and plan his harvesting accordingly. He will tenderly care for the new chicks and calves and foals and stoically accept the loss of an animal’s life. He will carry on through the hottest temperatures and have faith through the dryest droughts. He will layer his clothes in the winter so that he can persevere through the mud and the freezing temperatures to bring feed and hay to the cows and hammer through layers of ice to ensure that the animals do not go thirsty. He will work each day until his body is too worn out to do more and he will go home each night knowing that there is always more to be done.
How does a soul convince itself to continue in such a way each day of his earthly life? He knows that the secret to life is that there are no shortcuts. There are no easy outs or light loads to carry. In order to serve God, a man must push his strength to the limit. Only then can he hand his burden over to Jesus Christ. Sorrow and disappointment are things that a man must face in this life. But when he is doing the thing that God has called him to do, then he can carry on each day knowing that his back will not break and his step will not falter if he is giving everything he has to God’s land and God’s creatures. A farmer doesn’t wake up each day for himself. He arises each morning to serve God by serving his family and home. His family extends to the animals in his care and his home is not just the roof over his head but also the land he works.
Everyone experiences heartbreak in their lifetime. A farmer experiences the heartbreak of loss almost everyday. A chicken farmer must dispose of dead birds each morning, a cattle farmer almost never goes a year without losing one or more calves. Those are the laws of percentages. Rainfall or lack thereof can cause catastrophic loss across the board. Crops fail, profits drop and costs rise. These are all damaging to the farmer’s spirit. But like the grass recovers and grows green and rich after the soaking rains, so does the farmer’s heart grow full and hopeful with each successful chicken flock, calf crop or hay harvest. So while each heartbreak tears the farmer’s heart down, each joy builds it back stronger. You have never known anyone that has a bigger or stronger heart than a farmer. He will love fiercely, live boldly and fight for good despite the heartbreak that comes with farming.