The Church of Life…

This saying takes me back to my childhood. I grew  up on a ranch. Let me rephrase that, I grew up on a ranch that was my church. We lived 100 yards from my Grandparent’s- and they lived a 100 yards from my Uncle – and the only other things around us were acres of fields that led to rough wood fences that joined our land to the other ranches around us. There were no close neighbors, so I was short on playmates, but never lacking for teachers. There were life lessons everywhere- like the winter mornings  when I got to watch steam rise up off the body of a newborn calf as it lay in a frozen field. This taught me about both the fragility and the strength of youth. I got to watch fields turn from brown, to green, to gold each year and came to understand the seasons that both the earth and her people naturally cycle through in a lifetime.   It was organic wisdom at its best- and the most holy temple I have ever known.

Today’s quote takes me right back to the long summer afternoon walks I would take in the fields with my Grandfather. He would silently scan the rows of corn, carrots, and tomatoes stopping only to wipe his brow from the summer heat.  If he said it once, he said it a thousand times. ” If you want your crops to be strong, you have to water slow and you have to water deep.”  Our fields had a lot of alkali in the dirt, so we had to make our crops reach for the deeper earth- where the moist dark soil was.

Like that dirt, we all have a lot of alkali in us- and this wisdom of the earth, well it applies to us too. If we want our relationships to withstand the storms, we have to water them slowly and deeply. It’s not fast-moving passion that will stand the test of time, but instead a trickle of love that runs constant and sinks to the depths of our being. If we want our children to walk upright in this world and make it a  better place to be, we can’t deliver quick, sporadic jabs of correction and direction to them.  Instead, we must let the slow drip of our own good ways sink into the soft ground of their young lives. If we want our own lives to stand strong against the wind, we cannot stay on the surface and take only what is easy to grasp.  We must dig in deeply and get our hands dirty, to separate the gold from the sand.

The ranch that I grew up on is long-gone. Its been replaced by a parking lot and a shopping mall – but the Church where I worshipped- it will live in me  forever.