Let me start by saying that few people on the planet are better people than farmers. I am not saying that because my dad and most of his family are farmers or because I grew up breathing the fresh air on a farm or because I never had better vegetables and fruit than what I grew up eating on the farm. But a good farmer grows much more than he needs as a business to feed people but few know how little he really makes or how few appreciate it. My dad used to say he felt sorry for city folk who think food comes from stores. No, food comes from the love and hard work of a farmer who tilled and planted and babies and waited then harvested that food all for months with a resulting pay that barely kept up his tractors and supplies and a little left over for the taxes on the land if we were lucky. But farmers do it because it is their passion to work the soil, produce food for people, raise cows for milk or beef, raise chickens for eggs and meat, etc. They know how and are good at it. They were in a long line of farmers who shared their knowledge, it is a part of them. They believe in America, the most patriotic people around. They love their families and it all starts and works for and with them. They know and love God because He surrounds them in the nature, talks to them in isolation for days on a tractor, is with them in the fresh air, the soil, gives them rain at the right time, provides for them. Farmers are ingenuitive, keeping things going, rigging things up, getting function where others would give up in tears. Farmers are businessmen, getting the most of every rare dime. Farmers are the strongest people I know in mentally tough ways and physically tough ways. I watched my dad move full oil drums himself, no equipment to help him. Just picked it up and moved it. Farmers should be studied as roll models and industry leaders, though most would never want that kind of glory. They are humble souls, doing what they know are nd loving what they do, resting up for the next thing on the schedule. Farmers a render beautiful people and you need to learn from them and hug them and thank them for the food. I am proud of that aspect of my highly respectable daddy. And I hope to go back someday and work the soil. It is in my blood and lungs, after all.
God blessed my Daddy with an exorbitant strength, of will, body and mind. He had an uncanny to eye up a situation immediately and know exactly what was called for and fill the need, whether it was spiritual or physical or mechanical, whatever. God provided him with this as his gift and developed it through years of experiences and opportunities to use and grow it. It was incredible. You could feel him enter the room and he was short but the largest thing in the room. And I learned later that this was not just his own strength but his faith and trust that God would work through Him and provide whatever was needed that he didn’t have. That, my friends, is the greatest power we can possess. And when my Daddy went to be with Jesus in Heaven, he passed that strength to me. I can feel it. It must have been his prayer, knowing I would need it to heal from my great loss of him and everything else that happens in life. And I see that gift as sacred and use it every chance I can. I know that if help is needed, I can provide that either myself or more importantly from God. What is ever the worst that can happen? We die trying and go to Heaven? Doesn’t sound so bad really, so I am game for whatever is in my path to do. I think that is not just true of me but of every single Christian that truly lives for and loves God with all their heart, soul and strength, which should be all of us. Remember that we are on this earth to worship and serve and every time we help someone we are doing both of those. God always is with us to help us do it. Pretty fantastic life, even if there are bumps along the way. God is good!!!
Remembering Daddy was good in Florida with friends there and my mom. But there is something beautiful about being in Michigan on soil he farmed that made remembering Daddy with family and friends and soil who knew him that made this broken heart heal more and start to mend. I have two homes now, far away from each other and my heart resides in both places, one with the love of my life and my kids and friends and one with my dear family and friends and soil that tugs my heart. My homeland recharges me, heals, calms my mind and soothes my soul. And there, it was good to share Daddy’s memorial with those who knew the greatness of the man who cared for me all my days and protected me all my nights. And the soil of my birth and my Daddy’s toils and triumphs released my tears and soothed my wounds. I felt his love there and the God who gives life to us all is to be praised and glorified and I thank Him for allowing this blessing to wash over me. Being in that space where things grow was healing to my soul. I am renewed after a fashion and the fire in me rekindled to a degree. As I move on down the road on this journey, I take this new joy with me, to have been home and been hugged and loved by those I hold so dear. Thank you, God!
A lot has happened in my lifetime. Most recently, I think of Daddy most, but I have lost many friends and family along the way and we’re I to focus on that, pretty sure I’d go crazy. Instead, I am trying to divert my thoughts to worship and prayer and the blessings and friends and family in my life now. We can choose what we focus on. There is a time to mourn and a time to laugh, a time to cry and a time to dance. We can not get stuck in the negative because the positive needs our participation. In the positive is life and movement and action. In the negative is stagnant sadness, movementlessness. And yes, I understand I just made that word up but it is true. Positivity focuses on good and others and God. Negativity focuses on self, self and self. And today, I really miss my dad and my friend I lost recently but I know that I can not live here. I must mourn and then move on. I have a lot of things to do still. I can not remove myself from life, cannot focus on the missing. I have to focus on what I take from them, what importance I learned, what lessons and enjoyment from knowing them and carry that forward on my journey with God. That is what I must do. That is my calling. Their journey alongside me is finished but my journey remains. And I have an amazing heavenly Father who is always with me on this journey. We are never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever alone.
There is a warm embrace of comfort that God gives you when you curl up with a loving memory. Tomorrow is a difficult time because we will be honoring Daddy’s life. I can do that better than many because people pay very close attention to their beloved hero and Daddy was mine. He was the man in my life, the constant, the breath that gave me wings, my champion. He loved and defended me and my sister. He was loyal and supportive to my mom for 44 years. And my favorite memory of all time was me throwing up the ball and hitting it into the poll barn. Daddy got home from a long day in the field all tired and dirty. He came right up to me and gave me a dirty mud hug with a laugh as he did sometimes and grabbed the ball and pitched for me. He said I needed to make a bigger dent than that and showed me how to get more power in my swing. It wasn’t a long memory but it is deep and holds my heart loved. Memories are what we have when people are no longer with us. Making them should be a high priority for those we love for we, like my daddy, will one day drift off to heaven. Pictures help trigger memories, help remember. But some of my best memories happen in the moments cameras or phones are left behind, moments like daddy scooping me up to sit on the back of his combine or tractor as he plowed or harvested, the smell and turning of the earth, the consistent rumble of the well preserved engine by a master mechanic, the breathing in of the fresh air mixed with soil, and me proud as heck to be my Daddy’s little girl. I remember the pride I had when I used to visit Grandma Batterson and hear stories of Daddy’s taking good care of her all his life once he was old enough to. Her memories became mine, which is why there is importance in time with elders. Memories are little gifts from God to bring a great moment of love into the present and we can pass that into the future to our kids. The importance of memories cannot be understated and their value cannot be measured. And that is where my heart is right now. Make and share some memories as a loving act of service and encouragement. Never disappoints. 🙂
In my younger days, I watched a lot of movies and read a lot of fairy tales. While imagination is an amazing spark for the mind to bloom in, there is a disconnec between that which we wish were real and that which really is. My very very visual and imaginative mind can paint such a picture that I often have not been able to see the difference. But one thing I had to respect about my Daddy was his realness, his tangibility. You always knew where he stood because he was never hiding anything. He was a truth teller, a very real man. He did not romance my mom but he always provided for her and we were never without what we needed. He was not a flatterer but always worked hard to pay the bills. He did not promote sensitivity of emotion, but he worked the soil with a love of nature he passed down to me. There is a difference sometimes between what the heart expects and longs for than what it really can ever get a hold of. But since Daddy left this earth, I have a much greater appreciation for that which surrounds me now. I appreciate the messiness and loudness of my children as well as their strong minds. I appreciate that my husband keeps a roof over our heads and food in the fridge for me to prepare. I appreciate friends who are ho est with me when I have talked too much. I appreciate breaking the silence with a very real laugh. I appreciate the breaking of leaves and twigs u der my feet as I hike through the wooded trails. I love Jesus’ honesty all throughout Scripture and when He answers prayers. I can wait forever for a maybe of some fantasy world or live life in a beautiful and very real reality now. My dad was real. And though my mom may have longed for some of the novel romantic gestures so easy to grasp as natural, she could never have had a more loyal, trustworthy, completely devoted man who kept her health and home a priority even above his own life. There is a real romance in that,no deception, just a refreshingly frank and real reality of love in action. Other than a good meal, he expected nothing but continued giving to the last. I had to tell him I would look after mom before he would leave his body that had finished a while ago. The will he had to the last was the will to care for his wife. Sacrificial love to the end. Appreciated and recognized or not, he did not care but he would be true to his heart and love her the best he could. That is heroic. And in a very etherial way, was a real and tangible romantic love, seemingly practical but unadulterated by sticky to the and buttery lips. Real is better.
I want to share with those who knew and loved my Daddy, of which there were a lot, his last half hour. At home, about to begin band practice, my band family was there at the house. The call came in right before the first song was started. It was a text from mom that the nurse had called her to get there ASAP and she wanted me to go right away because she had just stepped out of the shower and would be a bit. I rushed out. I was glad to have had my band family’s support. It was comforting. I went alone. I entered his room and saw his labored breathing. He was uneasy, I could tell. He was fighting. He was a fighter with a strong will and I saw this as no exception. I walked in, just he and I there, and choked back tears. I held him and kissed his cheek and forehead and stroked his hair and prayed. With my touchhe calmed, breathing became calm. I asked Jesus what I should do, tears streaming down my face by now. He said “Sing” like He was right there in the room. So the only song I could think of in that moment was Jesus Loves Me, and I said, “I’m crying. Help me.” And immediately I could sing and sang about four verses while holding him and brushing my fingers through his hair. I stayed calm until I knew he was gone. The nurse came in and confirmed he was off to heaven. And I lost it. I know for a fact I could not have done any of that without Jesus’ help. And I know from experience that Jesus comforts those who mourn and he sure was right there answering prayer and waiting to see His son, my daddy, into heaven. Mom came in shortly after when I was calm again. I was so very blessed to have seen him go to glory. There was no pain and only peace once I prayed. Jesus answers prayer from a humble, sincere and intentional heart. He definitely does. There is no doubt in my mind at all. I wanted to share this. There is nothing on the planet that grows you up faster and changes you forever than losing someone you love. But one bit of comfort is that it is not forever. I will join him one day when God sees fitto change my home from earthly to Heavenly. And I feel closest to Daddy and God when I am out in His world walking, caring for it, serving other people and worshipping God. I am happiest seeing a field or being in one. Makes me feel closer to him and Him. I know Daddy is with Jesus and singing. He’s fix anything broken too, but pretty sure nothing is broke in heaven. But they will sort that out. I will focus so as to be with him one day. You should too. 🙂