Green Pastures

Wandering Through the Valleys

I’ve been wandering all over the place in my posts the past few days, so for those who don’t know me personally, there are a few things that I should probably clear up for you. First, despite the exposition that I flung upon my mother, she was a pretty amazing woman. She started kindergarten at the age of four, because Grandpa was on the township’s board of education, and the school was going to close unless they got a few more students. Mom was the sacrificial lamb. As a result, she graduated and left home when she was 16, and fell under the tutelage of her uncle on his Mississippi plantation. He taught her some austere and cut-throat business practices, and soaked in the Mississippi culture-of-the-South, of the early 1940’s. When she came back to the Midwest, she worked for Bell Telephone, earning $60 per month. Coming out of the rural poverty of the Great Depression, she thought she was one of the lucky ones. She was determined to never be poor again. I was a small player on that stage.

cropped-iowafield.jpgAlone, but in Green Pastures

There were things about our farm that will never leave me. We had rich, black dirt–probably thirty feet deep. My dad loved the dirt, the animals, and being outdoors. He gave me that, along with an unspoken feeling that we were all part of something much bigger–something really wonderful and mysterious. He also gave me a sense of perpetual change: explaining that at one time he didn’t even need to take a lunch out to the fields when he was working there all morning. He could grab enough strawberries, mulberries, plums–whatever there was between the fields–to last him until lunchtime. Herbicides killed everything but the memories. I now have a vision of life as something continuous, linking past, present, future–everything just flowing. I am still just a small player. But now, I am just as important and wonderful as anything else here and now and then and future.

God. Life. Universe. You. Us. All.

I used to be able to recite Bible verse upon Bible verse. Nine years of daily memorization will do that. But now I see things…bigger. I have been to India, South Africa, Mozambique, and back to here in the U.S. I know cities, universities, music, literature, and how to do a Google search. My God is bigger now, and he has a lot in common with many of the other major religions. He is black holes, super-novas, microbiology, and sub-atomic particles. He seems to look back at me when my cat rolls onto his belly waiting for a good brushing. That is one very big God, and it seems that he knows me better than I know myself. I don’t try to figure him out anymore. He just keeps showing up–in places I would never expect. I’ve doubted. I’ve checked the “other” history books, but I don’t doubt any more. He is bigger than life, and I am just really glad that I don’t have to be the one to make sense of it all.

Green Pastures

So, all the science, all of the psychology, all of the history, all of the religion–the more I know–the more I realize that there is very little that really counts. What counts is what I have inside (now that I’m back in me), and however I can share myself during the rest of my time here.

Thank you for joining me in the journey.



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