I seem to have them all fooled…at least for now. All of them. My employer, my wife, my children, my dog. Maybe even you, the reader.
We have a bumper sticker that came with our van that says, “Lord, let me be the person my dog thinks I am.” Wow does that apply to my life.
My livestock expect me to be the kind of man who gets up in the morning and meets all of their needs. Not just safety, respect and high-quality feed and forage but opportunity to express natural inclinations. But I don’t know what I’m doing. I just look at the animals and their poop and make adjustments until things look like I think they are supposed to. Then I write a few notes about my cow’s poop, include a few pictures and publish it for all of the internet to enjoy…because apparently there are a few people out there who enjoy gritty stories of farm life from the trenches.
Lord, let me be the person my cows think I am.
I wouldn’t have a farm if I didn’t have a job with a fairly significant income. We just wouldn’t be here. So I have to keep that job. I have done my job for 10 years but with side jobs and extra hours I have at least 15 years of experience. Most of my work time is spent being proactive about problems. Being intentionally vague (cause my job is nerdy and boring) I work to find issues before they impact customers. I also dedicate a portion of each day to learning about new technologies and new trends in my field. I do a bit of firefighting but if I’m really on top of my game I look like the Maytag repair man…but I have to look busy or I’ll lose my job and, potentially, my farm. Management doesn’t seem to appreciate me when everything just “works” regardless of how much work it takes to look effortless.
Lord, let me be the employee my employer thinks I am.
Being completely honest, I couldn’t do my job as well without the internet. I don’t have to discover every solution. Somebody else has already done it, blogged it and moved on. Same with cattle. Where would I be without Joel Salatin’s books and the generations of farmers he has inspired (at least 2 generations now, maybe 3). I wonder if Salatin every prays, “Lord, let me be the farmer they think I am.”
That takes me to my family. I don’t know who they think I am. I have no idea why Julie married me. I wouldn’t marry me. Not only that, but she married me and stuck with it. Weird. And she intentionally and voluntarily created children with me. Is she on drugs? Is this all a dream? What if she finds out? After everything that Julie and I have been through I’m really not as insecure about our relationship as I’m pretending to be but still…I have no idea why she is still there every night when I get home. It must be the exciting and frequent conversations we have about cow poop.
Lord, let me be the husband my wife needs me to be.
Kids, though…kids. In some ways you could liken them to inmates. They have an 18-year sentence before we’ll let them loose. By that point they may be so completely institutionalized that the freedom will drive them crazy or they will break down the locked door to get back home. Hopefully, though, they will grow to be self-assured young men and women who live each day with purpose and vision. But who is going to teach them that? Me? LOL! I don’t know what I’m doing. I have never raised children before! They are more complicated than dogs. Messier too. Fortunately the conversation is so much more meaningful. But what do I talk to them about? I can’t talk about my job. They don’t care about cow poop. I think the older boy is catching on to me. Maybe I should wrestle him in the grass, throw a ball and end the day with a meaningful life lesson, “Son, life is like cow poop. Sometimes it’s runny and messy and sticks to your tail. Other times it’s firm and hard. Either extreme is too much. You want it right in the middle. That’s all of life right there, son. If cow poop comes out soft but doesn’t mess up the tail and has a depression on top, you’ve done everything right by your cows. You think about that, son.”
Lord, let me be the father my children think I am.
I have no idea what I’m doing but I have an idea of what I need to do each day. I wake up, make a plan and execute that plan…or at least chip away at it. The phrase “Fake it ’till you make it” indicates that someday I’ll finally know something about what I’m doing and can stop faking my way through. But someday isn’t here. I have heard grazers say it takes 20 years to learn anything about grazing livestock so I’ll be faking for at least another 15 years.
To be more serious for a moment, I really don’t know where I’m going…where my wife and I are going. We have direction. We are obedient. We work hard. I have a vague idea of the next destination but I can’t for the life of me comprehend how to get there. So we focus on our relationships, we do our work, we study, we take one step at a time and we pray a lot. I don’t know what else to do.
I don’t know how you do what you do or if you share any of my insecurities but I do thank you for reading this and hope you will come back again.
Lord, let me be the person my blog reader thinks I am.