Kansas – For months Little Man’s prayers have been harvest/travel themed and have sounded something like this or a variation thereof, “Dear God, please watch over the combines, the wheat, the blue headers, the camper house, the splash park, and the swimming pool. AMEN!”
Just the other day we helped play musical vehicles with Ryan, which allowed us to pay a visit to headquarters where a beehive of preharvest prep was taking place. One of the crew members expressed his excitement for heading south and getting the cutting season going. He then asked me if I was excited about harvest.
Insert mom guilt here, because my initial reaction to the thought of starting the harvest season isn’t always excitement. Sure, there is anticipation and excitement there, but it can also be mixed with and sometimes overpowered by guilt and stress. I’ve stated before that I’m not a “cradle harvester”. In fact, I didn’t even marry into it as we started the business some time afterward. It is something I’ve had to learn, adapt to and has changed a great deal since we began the operation. Guilt creeps in when I question how I’m balancing family and harvest life, especially in the weeks leading up to departure and during the season. Guilt in knowing that the harvest lifestyle didn’t come as naturally to me as it may others. Stress because so many things have to align behind the scenes to make it all flow as smoothly as possible, part of which are out of our control. Stress that knowing family time will likely be stretched thin for the next seven months.
I’ve been debating about writing this post or one like it for some time. I don’t want it to sound like I’m ungrateful for opportunities that harvesting and agriculture offer, nor do I want it to sound like I’m complaining. However, I felt it was worth mentioning as I know I can’t possibly be the only one with these thoughts, even if our stories aren’t exactly the same. I wanted you to know if you do, you’re not alone if you feel some of these same things. In terms of faith, I think the” enemy” does a good job of making us feel isolated in our feelings as a way to bring us down. And that’s a problem and a lie. Maybe some of you are looking at your last year of farming and wondering what the next step looks like after you let go of your life’s work. Maybe some are wondering how the season is going to pan out in these trying financial times. Maybe you’re a young parent trying to figure out how to balance the unpredictable hours that is life in agriculture with your marriage, family, and off-farm career. The list of different scenarios could go on and on but if I had to guess, we in agriculture all have “something” that keeps us up at night and causes us some guilt and stress. I think it’s a normal part of life to have those feelings from time to time, but we have to try to not let them consume us. Everything goes in cycles. We need to keep the faith and know our lives still have value, even if our roles in our operations look different. We keep the faith as we decide if these sometimes uncomfortable life feelings are stretching us to grow and hang on, or are calling us grow and to let go of things we’ve long held too tightly. It’s real and sometimes hard. We can’t be afraid to share with a trusted friend or outside source when we need a little insight or encouragement to keep fighting the good fight!
I must say, all is not is not doom and gloom. Like I was pretty sure it would, I felt some of the stress from all the preparations melt away as I hit the button to close the garage one last time. As I headed south with precious cargo in the back seat, I entered season “go mode” with the knowledge I had done all I could to prepare for it. My kids probably won’t be traumatized for life after their mom was extra busy the past several days trying to get out the door. I felt satisfaction with the knowledge that our business helps feed the world, provides jobs to help others earn an honest living, and builds relationships with those we meet and serve along the trail. Our kids are growing up with a host of memories and experiences they wouldn’t have if we didn’t live this life. And even though life requires lots of planning and prep work, I was also reminded to live in the moment. After all, this moment is all we’re promised.
All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Laura can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org