They broke ground the other day, the way you break open a piñata and the breaking makes you believe in good things coming.
It’s been a late spring.
Cold and wet. As if the sun’s been hiding, grieving a loud and polarized world.Holding different opinions never has to stop us from holding on to each other.
When the sky finally leaked itself dry, the Farmer and one of his freckled girls, they head to the barren fields with their seeds and their willing hands.
The Farmer wore the same sweatshirt he’s had the last 12 years — since before she was born. The man likes familiar things, worn denim, beat up ball caps.
She wore a smile a mile wide.
You can relax into an easy smile when you trust that your father holds your world.
The girl’s never broke the earth before. Never swung up onto a tractor seat and shifted that brute into gear and dropped that cultivator into the dirt and tore up the field.
So he hauls off the planter dropping thousands of seeds into the earth — walks across the field to show her how to run the cultivator, how to make a seed bed in front of him with the planter. How to drop those teeth down into the dirt and break up the soil under her, so that he can come behind and lay down those seeds.
I watch how he shows her, how the father shows his girl —- how she will have to shift the gears, how she will have to run the hydraulic levers, when to lift and when to drop, and when to turn and co-ordinate the whole dance. She never takes her eyes off him, nodding, repeating, memorizing.
And he says what he always says: “Just stay steady. No fits and starts — just stay steady. Trust it as it comes.” I hear too… nod too. Steadiness is a balm to brokenness.
And I’m watching her eyes and say what I always say, maybe for me the most: “Don’t be afraid — don’t even be afraid of being afraid.”
And she winks, “Got it.”
Spring’s warming on our shoulders.
When you aren’t afraid of being afraid — you transform fear into friend.
Sure, she may be a bit intimidated by the beast of a tractor she’s wheeling down the field, by the managing of the cultivator dance she has to choreograph, but the thing is:Feelings get to accompany you — but they don’t get to control you.
Feelings get to inform you — but they don’t get to form you.
Feelings get to keep you company — but they don’t get to keep you in bondage. Only God Himself keeps you, cups you, carries you.
The girl drops the cultivator in… and again, always again, you just let the brokenness come.
The field smells earthy, like loamy possibility.
Brokenness can be the beginning of growth.
The only way for anything to grow— is for something to break. Growth only happens when the status quo is broken.
Change can only happen when what is — is broken.Only a broken field yields.
And our girl pulls down the field, breaking open the earth, so that seeds can be buried deep and break in the darkest places where they seem abandoned — and then resurrect to abundant life.
And I sit down on the edge of the field and watch her break soil and there’s that cross drawn this morning on my wrist.
What looks more broken than the Cross — but what wins more than the Cross?
Yet the Cross doesn’t look like it’s winning. The Cross doesn’t make Love look like it’s really winning.
The Cross is losing, pouring out, being given — to those who don’t love at all.
The Cross conquers everything —- but looks more broken than anything.
The Cross proves it: Love may not seem self-fulfilling, or look self-fulfilling, or feel self-fulfilling.
In actual fact: Deepest love — may look deeply broken.
The Cross nails it down: Love wins — when it looks broken. When it looks broken and given and poured out. Only a broken field yields.
Relationship is the essence of reality — and to have a relationship, you have to learn how to suffer — and to suffer like Christ, because this is love. Tell that to the newly weds, the new parents, the new graduates, this brave new world.
Doing the right thing may not look like success but like suffering — and that may be the most successful of all.
Doing the right thing — may mean suffering through things — because things are broken in this world.
But this isn’t the sexy or trendy thing to concede, so nobody’s trying to hawk this on the social media streams or the shelves of Target and my heart kind of breaks.
Watching the breaking up of the earth down the expanse of the field, it can come:
Is God’s definition of love about breaking our happiness — or breaking us free from the self-love that threatens to imprison us all?
This is the question that can reshape our world.
God is love — doesn’t translate into: God is about my desires.
God is love — doesn’t mean God is about self-fulfillment.
God is love — means to deny self.
Love doesn’t win if you’re really just loving your self.
We can forget: God isn’t called to affirm our desires — but He may call us to firmly nail those desires to the Cross.And the beauty of Christianity is that what dies — will rise.
The wind blows across the field behind one girl who is being brave behind the wheel. There are truths that will blow where they will and change the world because they never change.
The girl looks over to her Father — and they catch each other’s eye and I witness that smile. She lets the brokenness come and trusts her Father to plant what will rise and this is the beauty of brave.
Walking back across the field to the pick-up parked at the road, the open and willing ground crumbles bit under my every step and I can’t help but ache a bit with surrendered beauty of here, just as it is, just as it comes.
Only a broken field yields.
When one of your own farm boys takes an eye to the sky over his Farmer dad & our broken fields ( or — one of the reasons why I flat-out love farming. A yielded life yields. )
This one’s for the brave and the busted and the real and dreamers and the sufferers and the believers.