Farm Progress

The Home Front: Happiness comes from happenings, but joy is an inside job.

2 Min Read
father and son standing in field

It was a pretty rough planting season for many farmers this year. We got our corn in with great efficiency, and then the monsoon season arrived. It rained and rained and rained, and the temperature dropped. Ultimately, there were a few days of sunshine and warm weather, and then it rained again. I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know (and I hope I’m not stressing you as you remember your struggle to get the seed into the ground).

It seemed like farmers were stalled at every turn. First it rained and cultivating was later than they had hoped. Then it rained and planting was temporarily put on hold. Then it rained again, and it was difficult to hoe the field that had been planted.

I imagined folks repeating the little children’s ditty, “Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day …” Maybe that was the problem; the rain “came again” way too soon and too often!

I have to admit there were days the wet fields and the weatherman’s gloomy forecast did a pretty good job of giving me a personally gloomy outlook. Couldn’t we just get in the field, get out, and move on with the next assignment?

Yes, there were days when the weather forecast was pretty dismal. So much for plans we had made for the end of May and the beginning of June. Most everything was put on hold as we waited to finish planting.

The rain affected the entire agricultural community, not just the farmers. The folks who sell seed corn, for example, found themselves scrambling to supply seed for everyone who needed to replant.

In farming there are many things beyond our control, and this past spring was a perfect illustration that the weather is one of them. When most of the corn and soybeans were finally planted, I took some time to reflect on my state of mind during those rainy days.

At first I thought the wet weather had robbed me of my joy, but upon further inspection I knew that wasn’t accurate. Instead, I was unhappy about the circumstances.

What’s the difference between joy and happiness? Quite simply, happiness is based on happenings and joy is an inside job.

Things like wet weather, cold temperatures and broken machinery — those “happenings” all have the potential to make someone unhappy — someone like me, for instance. But when I take the time to look at the big picture of life, not just today but tomorrow and forever, it definitely changes my focus and gives me joy in the midst of unpleasant, unwanted “happenings.”

Here’s to true JOY for you as you rest and recuperate from the soggy planting season!

John and Kendra Smiley farm near East Lynn. Email [email protected], or visit

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