Jan 25 1 Comment

Ploughing fields alone

I don’t know if you ever feel like this, but there are times that I feel like I am carrying this humungous load all by myself, and while I sweat and cuss and wonder why I have to do it all alone, I am reminded that I am not doing it alone. In fact, somebody has carried most of the way, and I am only carrying this heavy pile for a short while.

This has nothing to do with my story, whatsoever. Just a cool photo. My sister, mom and me.

Depending on what day you talk to me, there are different heavy burdens I carry. Some days it is the burden of raising kids, some days it is the burden of leading Partners, some days it is the burden of paying for Partners (all that Partners is doing, that is), some days it is the burden of shuffling snow, some days it is the burden of walking the dog, some days it is the burden of all of mankind.

Whatever the burden is, it feels heavy at that particular moment. Whatever the burden is, there are times that I feel, oh, so all alone in the world. Like: Nobody cares about me.

You probably never feel like this, but let me share how I feel anyway. Bear with me.

There is a story in the Old Testament that generally doesn’t excite me much. (Honestly, I skip a lot of the stories in the Old Testament and move on the Jesus. He is so much easier to understand. But it’s not always such a good idea. Some real nuggets are hidden in the OT.)

OK, so the story is from 1. Kings 19:19. It’s about the prophet Elijah and Elisha. Elisha is plowing the fields, using his oxen. There were no John Deeres during the times of Elijah and Elisha. Just slow oxen. The verse I am thinking of says that Elisha was plowing behind 12 yoke of oxen (yeah, it sounds like a Mother Goose rhyme, or like a variety of The 12 days of Christmas, but this is the Bible, colorful as ever). In the book I read the author said that this must mean that 11 oxen teams had gone before Elisha.

And this is the point I am going to make. Some days I too feel like I am going to plough a whole field on my own. Those are the days when I need to take a look at the oxen teams that have gone before me, ploughing most of the furrows already. And I must ask myself who those people have been. These are the people who have formed the line of my life, my furrow. They have helped me pull the plough, making it possible for me to move forward.

I started thinking about this the other day and made a list of my oxen teams. Like the glove that was left on our balcony before a storm, I was blown away when I looked at the list. There are so many people on the list. I have more teams of oxen that Elisha, that is for sure!

Among a lot of other people around the world, these are some of the people who have blessed me and helped me and given me so much joy. They are our best Thai (and some Western) friends in the world.

Starting way back in the old school days I thought of people who had been there for me. Then, as I started doing all the off the charts activities, there were hoards of people all over the world that carried me, and later Steve, through all kinds of rough weather. I thought about mentioning a few names, just to prove the point, but then decided not too. I would never finish, and I have told my kids I will be off the computer in 20 minutes. But, I have decided that in one of my next books I will write about all my oxen teams.

For now though, just think about this: Who are the people who have gone before you? And when you get discouraged and sad and feel like the whole world has forgotten about all your burdens, pull a few of those names up from the hat, and savor them like you savor your favorite candy. You have not gotten where you are alone, and you will not go to where you are going alone. And there is comfort in that.

Amen.

PS. Another thing to do is to not watch the furrow, but to fix your eyes on some fixed point on the horizon (perhaps you should fix your eyes on the place you are planning to get to). It’s a lot easier to make a straight furrow that way. (Take it from me. I grew up on a farm and never ploughed one meter)DS.

1 Comment

  • Rick Granger says:

    I think about this all the time.

    I hope mo one ever thinks I consider myself a “self-made” man – a rather American preoccupation I suppose.

    I have walked in the wake of so many.

    Like when someone is before you on a forest trail and they hold a thorny branch for you to take from their hand so it doesn’t smack you in the face – I’ve walked through every phase of life with people in front of me.

    I’ve considered bloggin on this topic for a long time but have never done.

    Perhaps I will – though, like you, perhaps I’ll keep the trail blazers anonymous!

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