Monday, October 8, 2007
I have heard you, Lord,
And my stomach churns within me.
From Habakkuk 3
Maladroit, I am for this project, this work of faith, writing, and exploration of my inner self, not unlike my redoubtable inabilities in relationships. I can become too distrait to do it. The result is exiguous writing and a paroxysm of inactivity. I can be facetious about it, but this is a basic component of my personality just as much as the inevitable supervenes; I resume work. But there is a sense, a feeling, and the possibility, that this project will be, or could be, a bouleversement, a returning to a vibrant faith after a long period of agnosticism.
I used today’s word of the day, maladroit, as well as the last seven days words of the day in the preceding paragraph. Every day I get one from Dictionary.com in my e-mail.
From today’s reading:
Farming With Junk: A Rumination on Fidelity By Kyle Kramer in the October 15, 2007 issue of America. Some quotes:
I recognize the limits of my equipment, which was old when I bought it. I try to be easy on it, not ask more of it than it can deliver—as I would with an elderly person walking gingerly on a trick knee or a weak hip. In fact, my fleet of aging machines reminds me of an elder-care facility.
For all our practicality, I suspect that one of the less-admitted reasons we keep old equipment around is that we have grown attached to it, even as it rusts away. On the deepest level I think we realize—or fancy—that our equipment has been faithful to us and deserves the same from us. To be a good farmer demands fidelity, a degree of patience and commitment that seems out of vogue in a culture always fascinated with the future and the next new thing. We farmers deal with very old things: the ageless cycle of seasons and uncertain weather, the necessary bonds of family and community and the land itself —the source and sustenance of all living things, which might build an inch of topsoil over a thousand years but lose it to carelessness and erosion in just a few.
And what or who, after all, does not get old? We all run down; we all live within ever-encroaching limits of time or energy or health. So how do we respond to this undeniable fact? Do we—as farmers and as a society—pretend we can run and hide from mortality, finitude and age? Do we hide wrinkles or rust, constantly trade in our spouses or our equipment for younger models, look the other way from anyone or anything whose age and infirmity remind us of our own inevitable decline and demise?
Or do we pledge fidelity to the old things—and old people—that have given us much over a long life? Do we recognize that they might still have some life left in them and contributions to make, even as they get crotchety and need more attention and care, even as they struggle with incontinence of mechanical or bodily fluids? Do we honor these long lives and accompany them to the scrap heap or the grave with thanksgiving and gentleness? Do we show a little mercy and tender affection in the hope that as we age, break down and become less able, others might show us the same?