The sun is shining this morning, less intensely than last week. It’s Sunday morning, and I am recovering from a long week and long early part of the season. Yesterday, while at market, I wasn’t feeling well, but today, I am beginning the process of rebuilding my energy for the next part of the season. This week, in spite of the grueling heat and relentless rain, we completed the major tasks for planting the main summer crops. We have been behind by several weeks, due to the weather, flooded fields, and some equipment breakdowns, but this past week, we completed several key milestones by getting the remainder of the squash and melons planted and by getting the main season tomatoes supported. My body feels like I just threw myself across the finish line and collapsed after the sprint at the end of a long mountain stage in the Tour de France that was run in punishing heat mixed with relentless rain. There is a deep satisfaction because that leg of the race has been run, and there is also complete exhaustion because of what it cost to complete the race, especially since there is another stage to ride in the morning.
As I sit and finish my breakfast this morning, I am reflecting on the challenges already faced this season. The season has had its share of weather-related difficulties, but the truth is that in a year, all of these headaches and heartaches will be nothing more than memories and lessons. It takes hard work and planning to successfully navigate a season of growing. Yet, in spite of having detailed plans, a season can change a few conditions on the ground, and all one has for guidance to survive is their past experiences and lessons with which to navigate the labyrinth of options before them. In effect, we were forced to deviate from the plan.
Such deviations can be frightening because it’s too easy to believe that having a plan is the same as controlling the outcome of a situation. We are a species of folly who believes all too often that we are more in control of outcomes than we actually are. We spend too much of our lives either in the past, lamenting what we should have done, or the future, attempting to evaluate countless scenarios over which we have little control. In doing so, we ignore the only true reality that we can know, the present. The swallows do not worry about yesterday or tomorrow. Rather they simply fly over the fields seeking what they need today! We can learn much from the swallows and the rest of the natural world. As the Bible states in Luke: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.” I have learned to let go of my worry about the season.
They say that just before death, our lives flash before us in great detail. Perhaps the continuous string of moments in the present that we all experience is our chance to truly review our life in real-time. In other words, we may miss out on our lives if we are looking too far back with regrets or too far forward with anxiety. We all share the inevitable fate of death, but it is our life that defines us. Perhaps, on our journey to our eventual transition from this world, we are already given the chance to review our life in detail, every single moment of every day, and it would be a shame if we missed the beauty before us because we were focusing on phantoms in our past or future. Each of us exists in our own season, and we are operating with some plan for our direction. In these seasons, there will be floods and droughts, heat and cold, and life and death. When challenges lie before us, we will find ourselves in string of eternal moments strung from our past to our future. How we choose to live in those moments, especially those moments in our present and who we share those moments with, will define us more profoundly than the ghosts in our dreams of the past and future.