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Sustainability in life and farmingSustainability in life and farming

Joy’s Reflections: On the farm and in your life, pursue the road toward hope and a future.

Joy McClain

November 21, 2023

2 Min Read
A close up of a newborn's hands curling her fingers around an adult's finger
BONDING: Baby Layla’s fingers curl around her mom’s finger, holding on tight. Joy McClain

Sustainability is a deep word. Often referred to in agriculture, it aptly describes our lives. When the world is on fire, my innermost is calmed by what is steady and unchanging. Participating in something simple like baking a pie from scratch, forming dough into neat little loaves of bread, reading to one of my 11 grandchildren or planting seeds for windowsill sprouts — these sustain peace and are antidotes to rising anxiety.

After living in the valley of shadows upon the death of our infant grandson Benjamin and my dear mother, our family rejoiced as we welcomed darling Layla. Sister of Benjamin, she is the first female in a family of five boys. Healthy and strong, she successfully entangled each of us around her pinky finger by doing absolutely nothing but being herself.

My daughter journeyed through raw grief that comes and goes without warning. There was no road map. But joy came in a tiny package adorned in pink. Grief hasn’t been snuffed out. It just mingles and coexists with happiness.

Sustaining ourselves

We avoid depletion of resources, known as sustainability, in our emotional, spiritual and physical nature by keeping a balance. We allow sorrow to dwell with pleasure, concern to be neighbors with wisdom, and calm breathed in when something seriously goes awry. When we drive too close to the ditch, we’re likely to end upside down in the field. This is my charge to you in the coming new year: Stay between the lines.

There are complex variables in farming. There is equally a steady and unchanging sense of, “This has to be done.” People must eat. As long as there have been wars, even rumors of wars, humans have deposited seeds into the ground for sustenance — sustaining.

Nothing opens the door to hope more than anticipation and promise of new life, be it as a sweet infant or baby plants in neat rows. So, farm away, farmers. Let this be the year you recognize your sowing and reaping means a bigger picture than measurable yields. Give us a vision of the future and hope.

About the Author(s)

Joy McClain

Joy McClain writes from Greenwood, Ind.

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