As I listened to my messages, my mind quickly zipped through our day, tallying the pros and cons. We had planned to visit our friends in Oregon City to see their new pigs . . . Avery was dying to meet them . . . but she was also very excited about the day the lambs would be born and was waiting for the call . . . the lambs would soon be out to pasture and not as eager to be held . . . the weather was nice so far . . . the rains were coming . . . .
Well! There was only one thing to do. We decided to have a farm day.
I called my dad to see if he could bring The Cousins along, since they, too, were invited to meet the lambs. Hooray for spontaneity! They loaded up, we loaded up, and we all headed north.
The kids were shy about feeding the lambs at first and chose to simply observe. They noticed how coarse their wool was, how long their legs, how tired the mama was. (I would be, too. Triplets!) But they warmed up and eventually took turns feeding the lambs. Clara was especially fetching in her dress-up accessories, ideal for farming. She also found infinite satisfaction in bundling up the lambs in warm towels.
Our wonderful hosts kindly let the kids play with the lambs and roam about the property until all of their wiggles were out. But the timely little, "Papa, I'm hungry," reminded us that it was time to say our goodbyes and move on to our next destination.
We all parted ways, our van heading south . . . south . . . south. Traffic was slow, but we were finally welcomed into the open arms of our friends. Avery couldn't wait to meet and feed the pigs, gather the eggs, admire the chicks and follow the ducklings. But her favorite part? Having tea with our hostess. Our hearts were filled to the brim as we visited, and Avery was quick to suggest that we should schedule some "special bonding time" again very soon.
As we drove home, I thought about our farm day. A day filled with new life and dear friends. A day that reminded me of the hard work it takes to grow good things. Patience . . . sacrifice . . . sorrow . . . uncertainty. But the hard work? It yields such good fruit. Joy . . . hope . . . satisfaction . . . life.
It's worth it.
I looked in the rearview mirror at my (not-so) little farmers. Each one tending their own plots of land in this life-journey, each one aware of the way I model, each one watching to see how I tend to my own land. Do I model the patience, sacrifice, hope and joy that inspire them to see the goodness of this calling? When I'm ankle-deep in mud in the pouring down rain, hunting for eggs or pulling up weeds, do I welcome the work, knowing that it produces endurance and faithfulness?
We gathered the fresh eggs into our home, we gathered our family together again at the end of the day. I looked at my little plot of land, these farmers at work, the tilling and growing, weeding and sowing . . . knowing full well that we still have much to do. We always will. But that also means that we have much goodness in store. Joy . . . hope . . . satisfaction . . . life. So we till and toil away.
And it's worth it.