When our children were younger we had the wild idea that it would be great to live in the country. So we purchased ten acres in a rural area, sold our home in the city and acquired a riding lawn mower to control the grass on the five acres of lawn which we kept manicured.
The kids loved being on four wheelers, raising pet rabbits, riding their bikes down our quarter of a mile long driveway, watching the dairy farmers milk cows at an adjoining farm and chasing each other in our huge front yard. In the midst of this idyllic life one of the adults in the family (I’m not even sure which one of us it was) suggested we grow a family garden. It would be a great experience for our children to be involved in the entire process of planting and growing their own food, right?
Our logic was that if you’re going to have a garden you might as well have a big one. We plowed up a half acre’s worth of dirt and took the kids to the feed store to pick out whatever it was they wanted to grow. The excitement and enthusiasm of our first farming experience grew with each package of seeds we selected. By the time we left the store we had collected a huge variety of vegetables, melons, berries and not one but THREE kinds of corn. In fact we had so much corn that we ran out of space in our garden and ended up borrowing part of a neighbor’s crop land which they were not using.
The excitement and enthusiasm of our first farming experience grew with each package of seeds we selected.
Every day our offspring would excitedly run to check the garden to see if anything had grown. It seemed to take forever but when the first cucumbers, tomatoes and a tiny watermelon appeared they were ecstatic! As the summer grew warmer, however, the weeds grew taller, the soil became thirstier and the gardening experience began to lose some of its initial appeal. The kids would argue over who had watered last and whose turn it was to check for ripe vegetables that needed to be picked.
Then in mid July there was suddenly a day when the corn was ripened and ready for harvest. All of it. All three varieties. All of those multiple rows in our garden and all of those on the neighbor’s farm as well. Like a baby who needed to be delivered NOW, there became an urgency to remove those sweet, juicy ears of corn from their stalks immediately in order to preserve their freshness and flavor. The problem was my husband had just left for a two week fishing trip to Canada and I, like a lone midwife, had the solo task of tending to the corn.
Let me just say that the next couple of weeks became a blur of corn stalks, corn silks, corn husks and corn kernels. Not being an experienced gardener, I had no knowledge of the helpful little gadget called a “corn stripper” which fits around the corncob and basically strips it of its golden nuggets in one fell swoop. So I did what I had seen my grandmother do when I was a child. I took a small paring knife and made careful strokes down the sides of each ear of corn until it was bared to the core, then scraped the core to get all the extra juices. Also because I was inexperienced, my knuckles and fingers became bared and scraped as well.
The kernels of corn would often fly across my kitchen, spray across the counter or worse yet, land on the floor. By the end of these days my legs were tired from standing, my back was tired from bending and my fingers felt numb from gripping corn cobs and knives. At night when I closed my eyes I could still see kernels of corn flying through the darkness. It was as though they haunted even my sleep.
When I felt I could no longer scrape and cut one more ear of corn I decided to freeze the rest to eat as corn on the cob. I froze bag after bag, arranging and rearranging my freezer several times to accommodate the mounting volume. I calculated that our family of five would need to eat corn with at least every other meal for the remainder of the year in order to consume the amount I had amassed. When the freezer would hold no more and I literally had to lean against the door to shut it, I began calling friends, offering up our excess bounty.
We all sometimes venture forth without counting the cost, planning ahead or thinking of long term effects.
Needless to say, when my husband returned from his fishing adventure saying he and his buddies were planning a trip the same time next year, I knew corn would not be a part of the next year’s planting!
I think of my “coRn craZy” experience and realize how we all sometimes venture forth without counting the cost, planning ahead or thinking of long term effects. This may be due to a lack of experience, naivety, or to sheer willful disobedience. I’m sure I have been guilty of all three.
It’s not easy to stay committed when things get hard. When a task becomes unmanageable, a job unrewarding or a relationship unloving it takes integrity and resolve to stay put and see things through.
Most parents will tell you they had no idea how much would be required of them in just the first year of their new baby’s life. Most small business owners would tell you the same. Many situations we commit ourselves to are so much harder than we knew they would be.
Are you struggling with something which seems overwhelming to you right now? Do you feel you have taken on a responsibility that is much greater than it once appeared? Are you afraid you will crumble beneath the current load?
If so, it is for YOU I pray today. I am asking the Creator to give you perseverance, stamina, fortitude and strength. I am praying that you stand tall in your own field of cornstalks, refusing to be intimidated or discouraged by their volume or the effort they represent. I am asking God to bless you with purposefulness, persistence and power you did not know you possessed. And to you I say, CHOOSE TO BE TENACIOUS in the midst of this season. For this, as all other seasons, will surely pass.
God bless you.