18 August 2011

What's In a Name?

"Time doesn't stop.  Your life doesn't stop and wait until you get ready to start living it."
Hannah Coulter, by Wendell Berry

My childhood was spent on a near thousand-acre farm.
It was a beautiful setting and a wonderful childhood.
I know it was a true and rare gift.  

The temptation is to look back and romanticize it, 
to fill my memories so full of ideal living that I become discontent with my current life.

That's where the name for this little blog came from.

When I was five or six my parents bought us a black and white Shetland pony named Duchess.
They built a pasture for her in front of our farmhouse.
She died my senior year of high school.

All during my school years, she was there.
Though much of the time I ignored her,
every so often I would take a brush and spend an afternoon or evening
grooming her, talking to her, sharing my secrets.

As I grew, I'd use that time to talk to God, Duchess listening in.
I clearly remember one such talk:

The sprinklers on the circles were ticking, their wheels moving with a hum every minute or so.
The birds were singing low, sweet bedtime songs.
The sunset was brilliant in the dusty horizon.
The sweet scents of dirt, water, and crops filled the air.
The shadows and light cast a look over the farm that filled my soul to aching.

I told the Lord I couldn't imagine leaving such a place, 
for I knew I was growing up.
And somehow, deep within, He answered me.
He promised me a beautiful place, much more so than the farm I grew up on.

The acreage would expand forever. 
The beauty would captivate and enthrall in newness each moment.
It would so fill me with joy and gladness I would never 
ache again, for there would be no end.

And so, until then, that day when I cross the river
And all His children join Him,
He shows what He has prepared for us,
I wait in expectation.

Knowing even now,
I have a thousand acres to explore.
His kingdom in and around me.
His grace and goodness hidden in every nook,
each situation.

The acreage looks dramatically different
than my family's farm.
Not even an acre to my name any more.

But the acreage of my life,
in my children, in my husband,
in my family, friends,
in the books I read,
in the people we meet,
in Christ's people here,
in the wisdom God gives,
in the circumstances and situations
always part of living.

This is my thousand acres.

"Blessed are those whose strength is in you
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools,
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
Psalm 84.5-7

*Written because this is the 100th post...and I thought it time to explain.
*Photos of August both at our acreage here and at the family farm.