A few years ago when my wife Valda and I were pastoring a small church plant in rural west Tennessee, our spiritual mentor Paul Manwaring suggested he was going to write a book about my wife titled “The Reluctant Pastor’s Wife”. What made this title amusing was that she was clearly not a “pastor’s wife” but rather a pastor in totum herself. Her reluctancy came only from the way some people looked at her (this was the South after all) and occasionally from the way she looked at herself. She was clearly qualified for this role, however the timing in her life was not convenient for such an undertaking. Convenience or not, she served as a pastor along side me because God asked her to do it and because pastoring a church was really important to me, “stand by your man” and all that stuff.
These days we’re not leading a church, though we do find ourselves still pastoring people. And cows. And sheep. And chickens. And the occasional goat. Livestock was never a part of my past and I certainly never, ever thought it would be part of my future, yet here we are, over three years into the adventure of owning our own mini-ranch.
Although I love the great outdoors, the thing that makes it great to me is doing things like rock climbing, sailing or cross-country skiing, NOT hauling hay, mending fences or caring for a new born calf into all hours of the night because she won’t nurse from her momma. Did I mention my idea of a really good time is going to any big city and soaking up the sights, sounds and smells? You can get those three things at a stock yard, they’re just… different.
So here I am in the present, knee-deep in the stuff you find in barns, frequently asking myself “why me, why here, why now?”. The answer I usually land on is “I love my wife”. You see, my wife has this passion for healthy, organic, locally-sourced food, so much so that if we need to grow it ourselves, that’s what we’re going to do: grow it ourselves. I’m loving the end results we’re harvesting now, but it’s been a slow process for me to warm up to the whole idea. That’s why I’m a reluctant rancher.
Crazy what love causes us, compels us to do against our nature. Sometimes it’s the very thing we feel reluctant about that has the most life for us.
So, this whole experience is providing a new perspective for me to look at the Creator, myself, those I care about, life itself. I’ll be jotting down some of these observations in this blog from time to time. If they end up meaning something to you, that’ll help me feel even better about doing this ranching thing. I’m warming up to it. Really.