Don’t Ever Give Up
As a high school athlete I was prone to posting inspirational quotes on my locker and in our locker room. One post that I had up that I looked at often was from the famed college basketball coach Jim Valvano, also known as Jimmy V. It was very simple: “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.” It was particularly inspirational because it was said by a dying man. I think at some point in this journey back to the land I forgot about that indomitable spirit that once turned a gangly gawky boy into a national qualifying track athlete. I was not a great athlete, but I became one, but it was only after years of hard work and set backs. Lately I have been feeling that spirit come back. It is tamer and wiser than it once was. Perhaps I am a bit more prudent and cautious now as I begin again to journey back to the fields that constantly beckon me.
I have been very quiet on here for quite some time. I will admit that I came within a hair’s width of giving up and going back to teaching. I made it all the way to the point of the interview and job offer. Then it seemed as though I had my Abraham and Isaac moment. God wanted to test me and see how far I was willing to go to follow him. The answer was simply as far as you want me to go Lord. Now it is as if I am awaking from a fog. Slowly I am remembering all the things I wrote on this blog. I am thinking again of the ideal of the land, and I am desiring to test it once again. The difference this time is that I know the cost.
For two years I have been away from full time living and working of the land. During that time I took the time to become a better farmer. I have learned from my mistakes on our farm on the plains. I also have taken the time to study and learn to be a better farmer. My first attempt at farming I jumped head first hoping I would learn as I went, and learn I did. However, that learning had an awful cost. Ultimately, many of the problems I ran into were a result of my lack of knowledge and experience. Yet, my ultimate goal in farming was never to be the world’s greatest farmer. Farming and the land were always about something deeper.
I forgot the reason I wanted to be on the land as I watched my dreams fade under the mandibles of grasshopper plagues, crushing hailstorms, and blistering drought. As my stress level rose I forgot that the end goal was not to raise a crop. My end goal was to raise a family. My ultimate duty was to assist my spouse and children on their journey to holiness. It has only been since I started working outside the home again that I remembered how influential my constant presence on our farm was. I remembered and I once again desired that family unity that I had once only written about, but now I have lived. Today there is nothing under more attack by Satan than Marriage and the Family. The land can offer a place of refuge, a small Christendom for families today. However, we need other families who are like-minded. As the culture becomes more virulently anti-marriage and anti-family, we will need the support of others.
So where do I go from here? Forward of course! I won’t give up, and if you have a dream of returning to the land, pursue it. Yet, use prudence and be patient. Learn all you can, and remember that the land is a means to an end. It is an environment where the family can flourish, but the family will only flourish if you take diligent care of it.
I do plan to begin writing again as time permits. Our family has grown to 6 now, and I don’t always have the freedom to write as I once did. However, I will see what I can manage. Thanks to all who have written asking how things are going. A special thanks to all who have prayed for our family. We don’t have a clear path forward just yet, but we believe one is coming. I will be praying for all of you.