I had an interesting mini-discussion with a friend the other day.  (What do you call short exchanges that are relatively thought-provoking, but not long in length?  To me, the word ‘discussion’ seems to connotate an exchange of some depth and length.  But maybe I’m imposing that aspect of the word?  Anyway, we briefly spoke about the following-)

In the course of our phone call, we found that we were each comforted by vastly different landscapes.  She expressed her sadness in seeing nothing but farmland all the time (she currently lives in Illinois).  I was surprised, for I love the sight of rolling fields– nay, even flat fields– for the very reason that it brings me a great joy and comfort.  She has never really lived surrounded by only farmland and misses water.  I have never lived near large bodies of water (you can’t really count the river that cuts through my small town), but have almost always lived near farms.

What do I find so inspiring in farmland?  I was driven to contemplation after our conversation.  How could I find such joy in something that many people would probably find pretty boring?  Think about it– water moves, sparkles, changes, soothes.  Farmland… is just there.  Sure, you may have golden wheat waving in the breeze.  But most of the time, you just have stalks of corn.  Or even just barren dirt, lying in wait.

I know most of it comes from the fact that farmland is familiar to me and evokes feelings of home.  Although I was not raised on a farm and have never worked the land like a farmer’s daughter, it still marks the rhythm of life for me.   Synonymous with the summer heat is the quickly growing cornstalks, followed by the harvest time and the delicious dinners of sweet corn.   The crisp fall means dormant cornstalks and hayrides.  The sprouting of the bright green soybeans, the gorgeous winter wheat, even the black barren land that quickly finds itself covered in a crisp white blanket of snow.  All year the ground tells its story.

Family road trips on IN St Rd 25 brought many opportunities to watch the farmland out of the van’s passenger windows.  With the little houses and barns dotting the landscape, you couldn’t help but wonder who might live in the welcoming little homes, what their life was like, and how they were surviving in these days of corporate farming.

For me, farmland is a happy reminder of man’s vocation to work.  Toil and sweat are results of the fall, but work itself is not– from the beginning, man was put in the garden to “till and keep it.”  Work is a duty, but is also an honor.  In it, we cooperate with the creative act of God.  Work is given to us so that we can use the talents God has given to us to help Him in perfecting His creation.

A plowed field is not barren, boring, flat land.  It is a sign of cooperation with God, that great gift of partnership with which He has blessed us.

So next time you’re driving through a “boring” state with “only” corn, wheat, and soybeans, think about the fact that those fields are reminders that we have been called to be coworkers with God.  And that, my friends, is a very high calling.

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