As I sit alone drinking my coffee on this quiet Sunday morning, I am listening to the rain. Earlier this morning, it was coming down in torrents, and one of my dogs, Teddy, was shaking from fear with each clap of thunder. I comforted him, but he was still afraid. He was unable to gain perspective as the storm rolled through. Each clap of thunder locked him into a moment of fear, leaving him unable to feel safe. He couldn’t see that while the storm was frightening, it was simply the mechanism for delivering life-giving rain to the earth. So, I simply sat with him. Eventually he trusted me and calmed down. When the storm passed, all the dogs had breakfast, and they fell asleep peacefully.
This season has had its share of storms and rain. Farming involves a great deal of faith while the storms rage through. Farmers need to have faith that the rains will come and that they will stop. We must believe that the sun will rise, and we also have to trust that the seeds will grow and mature. There are other things to trust as well, but this past week, I learned that farmers must also have faith in the communities in which they find themselves.
Last week, after weeks of deliberating, I decided to send out an email that would explain how bad things had gotten this season in terms of flooding and the effects of the unusually wet year and a half that we have experienced. I wish I could say that when I sent the email out that it was some act of faith or even hope. The truth is, we had little choice but to take last week off from CSA deliveries. I wanted to inform everyone of the conditions on the farm without sounding hopeless. I wanted to be the voice of calm in a dire situation. That is a role that I am comfortable playing. The problem was, that it was a mindset inspired by ego.
While having an attachment to something that is ego based is not necessarily harmful, such attachments can inhibit one from seeing the true nature of life. Sometimes, such illusions must be shattered to see something for what it is. After I sent out the email, I felt like I had let everyone down (ego). I wasn’t sure how I could face anyone. Then something amazing happened. So many people began responding to the email with support and encouragement. Moreover, a message kept repeating, both explicitly and implicitly: We are all in this as a community together. As I read each message and responded, my emotions were becoming difficult to contain. I was overwhelmed with a sense of community and belonging. What started out as despair grew into an awareness that we were not alone.
Every form of support that we received both humbled me and made me feel gratitude for all of the blessings in my life. I received kind words of encouragement and hugs at market on Saturday. Also due to the kindness and compassion of members of our community, even our immediate and pressing financial worries have been lifted from us. Because of such incredible love and support that we have received over the past week, I am no longer fearful of the future. My perspective and faith have been restored. While uncertainty lingers, a sense of certainty also is omnipresent. I am certain that I am not alone and that our farm is part of a larger community. I am certain that none of us was ever meant to live without belonging to a community. I also have faith that the storm will pass. The thunder may boom around, and in the moment, it may at times feel like everything is falling apart at the seams. The reality, however, is that the storm will roll out. When it does, the sun will shine, and I will see a rainbow stretching down to the earth from the sky. Later that evening while lying in bed, I will fall asleep peacefully. In those moments before I drift into a late summer slumber, I will realize that I will be alright and that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing right now.