When I drove up this morning, the sun was just starting to peek over the hill, and the green of the grass was vivid and pure.
I stopped to take this shot of the view… isn’t it inviting?
Come in, it says, Come in and see all this space.
But I kept driving, in a rush to deal with my horse and get things done before I had to be back in town. Grabbed a halter and a few supplies and suddenly found myself standing on a dusty road, looking down to where things have become a little worn around the edges and frayed with time.
Our old barn sat quietly in the sun and stared back at me. Some of its shingles were missing, some of them torn, hanging loose, or paper thin – frankly, it wasn’t something I would normally choose to study. But it caught my eyes and held them for just a minute.
And I thought about my grandpa.
You see, I’ve been playing with the word established and what it means, and why we’ve named this blog with it. And this old barn, with all its crumbly shingles, spoke to me.
It may not paint a pretty picture, but it tells a story of time – of my grandpa’s hands, scarred and weathered and oh so capable. Willing to brave the wilderness and the seasons, the hard work of harvest, and growing crops out of stubbornly rocky ground. Expanding, stump by stump, the land he bought.
I played in this barn as a child, jumped from the loft and swung from the rafters, made hay-forts and did my chores of feeding or watering calves, and horses, a lamb and a milk cow. I never thought about the work it took to build. I never questioned the worry, the labour, and the materials my grandpa’s hands saw in order to build something to last.
I just played. And dreamed. And learned.
Now you can see the sky peeking through the roof, and the boards of the loft are full of holes, but still our old barn stands sturdy, holding some of the hay we’ll need this winter.
All because my grandpa worked, and worked hard to build his family a place. And a way of living. He made us a permanent fixture in this beautiful valley. Through lots of sweat and tears, worry over calving, and saving up pennies.
Perhaps being established is the same as being blessed. For all of us younger generations. Grandpa carried us past the backbreaking work and fears of the beginning. His hands broke in the fields and the fences and the homesteads. He dealt with the risk and the worry of starting something new and holding to it through the uncertainty. Through the failures and the learning of how to do things best. He did all these things and sought to love God through it all.
I think Grandpa would say now, though, that work by itself is not enough to be established on. His hands, as capable as they were and ready to work, loved most of all to hold his grandkids, his wife, clap his sons on the shoulder in encouragement. To clasp together in prayer every night, and to hold his Bible every morning.
If Love was like the farm, and we were established in it, we might consider the Person who carried us past the backbreaking work of the beginning and what separates us from him, who brought us to the wide open fields of life inside him, where we might enjoy the space and the freedom of what His name means and what he does for us. Whose hands are strong, and scarred and oh so capable.
I think Grandpa would like that analogy. I think he would agree that it would be worth it to make a permanent home there, inside Love.
uumm, let me add a chapter here.
Now, don’t forget – it takes 2 Grandpas to bring a soul into this world. I would like to add a bit of the story from the other Grandpa!
He was a gentle man, yet strong and with hands that knew how to work with logs and lumber, building with an intuitive sense of permanence, strength and beauty molded together. He was your other grandpa, and he was the one who taught me how to split shakes out of a cedar tree, turning over the blocks as we pounded the froe through the block.
It was this Grandpa that helped me shake that old roof, 40 years ago. Some day I’ll sit with him again, sipping coffee, and as I lift my eyes to look into the eyes of Jesus, Grandpa will touch my arm with his spoon with which he had been stirring the hot coffee; I’ll jump and Jesus will laugh. What a grand time we will have, as we look down on that old barn with the children playing in the hay. I wish you could have spent more time with this Grandpa….some day.