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Sometimes It Takes a 2 by 4 To Get My Attention

Life's lessons help us see things differently.

You've likely either just wrapped up harvest or will soon. It's the end to another chapter in your farming career – an entire growing season. You only get 35 to 40 or so in a career, so it's important to learn from each one.

The lessons may be more than about how to grow crops. What kind of things did you learn about working with your family; about what's important in life? Raising good crops and working long hours to get the crop out on time are important, but are they more important than family?

At one time I might have been tempted to say "yes." Growing up, my father scratched to make a decent living as a tenant farmer on small acreage in the '60s and '70s. He made it, partly because my brother and I pitched in and worked hard as we grew up. At times I worried more about whether it was going to rain so we could harvest or not than I did about the chemistry class I was sitting in at school.

I don't farm today – I write for you. But life has a way of running everything together. There's always one more story to write, one more deadline, one more meeting to attend, one more practice to serve as a volunteer soils judging coach for FFA. Pretty soon everything was constant motion.

The good Lord decided I needed a wake-up call. Three weeks ago I suffered a minor-major trip and fall while on an overnight soil judging trip. It seemed to be just a nasty scrape on my leg, probably minor. Before I knew it I couldn't walk and I wound up in the hospital with infection. That's "major" since I was the patient.  There is no such thing as 'minor' surgery or a minor accident if you're the one that is in the middle of it.

I'm getting better. One thing it made me do was slow down. I had to rest the leg, and I had to let someone else write the extra story. Someone else even did my sheep feeding chores for a while!

What I discovered was that life went on. It's going on, and I've enjoyed the extra time with my family. I thought I was spending time with them before, but now I realize most of my quality time was going to other things.

God decided to hit me with a 2 by 4. It hurts, but it gives you new perspective. As long as you're alive, there's still time to change attitudes and lifestyle habits to work toward the most important goal of all – valuing what's really important in life. That's family.

Don't worry, I'm going to keep writing. But my perspective will be a bit different. You'll get my best for every story I write, maybe you might see one or two fewer from me and more from someone else now and then. It's a matter of balancing priorities.

Maybe you already have life balanced just like you want. If not here's hoping you can step back, now that harvest is over, and take a second look at what's important in life. Just be advised that if you don't do it on your own, someone might do it for you – with a 2 by 4!

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