Saturday, June 18, 2011

Making a Father’s Heart

Like the land he tills, his heart stays quiet and predictable most of the year. His life seems so simple; we assume that’s all he is: boring and brown and tilled in straight lines. But that just proves we know nothing, either of the soil, or of the heart.

During the drought we languished, tired of grieving and wishing for rain that did not come. But each spring he planted. Each autumn he harvested. Other farmers’ fields lay abandoned, crops never brought into granary, because it wasn’t worth it for three bushels to the acre.

But he just kept going out: waking early, working late, keeping us linked to life by radio conversations and tractor rides.

So we kept going too, not aware that our own roots were growing deep.

He could do something other than farming, this brilliant man. In four years of high school, he spent only thirty minutes total with homework. He could have become a chemistry professor with the Canadian military. He could have been a local name with his community club book-keeping and school bus driving and golf swing. He could have vacationed and built bigger and been a good average farmer.

But he didn’t.

He came home to the farm, because there was no money to put him through military school. He gave up the local clubs and golf league. He decided children were more important than early retirement or new equipment. He chose to pay off inherited debts rather than leave his sons with liabilities. He risked loving people outside his community, and loving children beyond his family.

In his long, slow journey of surrender, he was transformed. Ambition morphed into invention, prowess into stewardship, pride into grace.

And through all the loss and exposure and deep tilling and hardship, God made a Father’s heart.

So now, he cultivates and sows and harvests. He plays with children, labours with his sons, listens to his daughters, shields and supports his wife.

Nothing special.

Nothing so hard.

Nothing so worth it.

He opens calloused hands and dies to himself, and others come to life.

This is way of the seed in the field. This is way of the Father’s heart.

For my Dad, on Father’s Day.

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