Today I surprised myself and my littles with a trip to a farm with friends. The farm was just over two hours away, traveling on beautiful backroads in a vehicle filled to the brim with friends, anticipation, laughter, and sharing of stories.
I was traveling with our book group who meets weekly. I love these precious women. I love their smiles, their wisdom, their love, and the grace they give so freely. Today we loaded up with the children and went to a farm for a trip to reflect on the book Scouting the Divine: My Search For God in Wine, Wool, and Wild Honey by Margaret Feinberg, the book our group just finished studying.
It was a beautiful day. It was overcast so it wasn’t too hot, and the rain held off until the end of our time together. I watched the eyes of my children as they rode in the buggy that Buck, their new four-legged friend, pulled along paths through the woods. Later Buck followed them around in the sheep pasture. I believe our Princess has caught the horse bug. My Buddy was the sheep magnet. A couple seemed to like him and came right up. It was a gift to see my two youngest whooping it up with their friends, peeking at eggs in a nest, smelling lavender growing in a bed, and resisting the urge to follow the turkey and roosters around the yard.
At lunch we gathered together under a shelter at a picnic table while the children ate at a sweet table covered in burlap. On every table sat a vase with fresh-cut flowers or herbs. The breeze blew gently as we picnicked from the sack lunches we’d brought. We visited with our new friends–the shepherdess/beekeeper/farmer extraordinaire who was hosting us, and her friend who had trained Buck to pull the buggy and was working with him on pulling a harrow. We laughed and talked about lessons learned in nature around us, raising children, and the Oxford comma. I soaked it all in, thankful for the invitation, for friends to travel with, and for being able to get my act together and go. (Some days that’s a greater accomplishment than others.)
As we walked around the farm, I saw things that reminded me of England–the gates and the orchard wall especially. But mostly I missed my roots. Home. At Blackberry Flats. And at my Granny’s farm. I grew up sidestepping cow patties and crawling under electric fences. I was bottlefeeding a calf when I was 8 years old. We had a horse when we moved to Blackberry Flats a year later. We were never without cats and dogs scattering underfoot when we walked out the back door. I miss the animals. I miss the land. Oh I miss it all.
So it was with gratitude and sentimentality that I turned to our hostess as we were leaving and said, “You are a good steward of our world. Thank you for sharing it with us.”
She looked up and said quietly, “I appreciate your saying that. I like to be about redemption. Since I know I’m certainly a part of the other.”
The poetry in those words.
I like to be about redemption.
My soul cried out in resonance–YES! Me too!
I want to be about redemption.
I knew what it meant but so often the word is tied to religious meaning, which can get a bit confusing. So when I came home, I looked for the exact meaning and this is what I found in the dictionary.
Redemption…..the act of recovering or atoning for a fault or mistake. Redemption…..rescue or deliverance.
I’ve made mistakes. I have faults. Lots of them actually. The need for redemption is brought about by taking, by harming, by hurting. I have taken away from our planet and hurt my fellow people. Not always intentionally, but it has happened more often than I can bear to think about. I want to be about REDEMPTION. I want to be a part of rescuing what we’ve been given, all that surrounds us in our beautiful world, to be a part of the healing of hurting people who surround us, to make a difference in the brokenness. I too have been a part of that other, and I can tell you, it doesn’t feel good.
I look around at what and whom I’ve been given–loaned if you will–and I am humbled. I am not worthy. And yet when I open my eyes again, it’s all still there. I can rush out and just ride the ride, not worrying about who or what is being affected. Or I can walk carefully and cautiously, paying attention to the ripples I’m creating as I do. Today the shepherdess shared with the children–and all of us–that it was best to walk through the pasture respecting the sheep and taking in all around us, thinking about how we were making them feel and being aware of that, sharing respectfully. I think that is what redemption is about–paying attention and taking care. Correcting wrongs made in the past. Rescuing. Recovering.
Today I am thankful for the grace and patience of friends who allowed me to be a part of today and for the generosity of my friend who shared her family’s farm with us and set up the visit. I give thanks for reconnecting with my roots and for the stirrings within; I have to work harder to return to them. I am thankful for a day of getting lost in the beauty of the world around us, the sights, the sounds, the smells–and the beauty of precious simplicity. I crave authenticity, and today was all about that. I love the joy that today gave me and my littles, and I love the people who were a part of that. And I’m thankful for the poetry of the words I heard today. I am going to work on being about redemption a little more. A lot more. I think that may be one of the greatest gifts I can give my children and my world. And you know who else? Myself.
Oh…..and the next best part of the day? When I got home, we still had these.
For the first time in what seems like forever, my littles didn’t ask for dessert when they finished their meal. Today I actually had one planned, it being a picnic and all. But on this day that my Princess said was her “best day ever in her whole life,” they ate their lunches and then wandered off to watch the turkey gobble around or to look at the sheep in the pasture or to smell the flowers blooming. Today, they feasted on a real treat–that of the beauty and nature around them. And that’s the sweetest dessert of all.