Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. –Genesis 1:29-30
Spring brings with it such excitement. At Mass last Sunday we had Baccalaureate. The faces of the students (and their parents), filled with excitement and maybe, just maybe, a little anxiety. Being from a rural area, it also brings planting. As I drove to work each day this week, I noticed the progress in planting and, in some fields, sprouts coming through the rows. Farming, to me, is an occupation which requires incredible faith. Incredible amounts of time and energy are put into preparing the field, sowing them, then fertilizing. After that, it is really about prayer and faith. Farmers can’t bring rain, or necessary sun, or protection from storms. It is really all about taking a chance. There are no guarantees. Yet, each spring we believe. For this reason, I view it truly as a vocation rather than an occupation. There is a relationship between farmers and their land, between farmers and their livestock. It is an investment in God’s creations. I say this first-hand, having been raised on a dairy farm. I certainly don’t feel that same way about my keyboard.
As I saw those high school seniors at Mass, I thought about their parents. For some, it was their first child graduating, for others it was their last. Parenting is the other vocation I believe requires incredible faith. The parents planted the seeds, but as the students described, one by one, their future plans to the congregation while standing on the altar steps, the future now rests largely on trust and belief that there will be necessary sun and protection from storms. I saw in their faces that the parents are invested in God’s creations.
Faith is not an idea. It is not short-term and you don’t just decide to try it one day, but not the next, and bounce back and forth. It is a relationship. It is an investment. It requires patience and cultivating. It does not “live” without effort. Farmers and parents live this truth each minute of each day.
At the end of Mass, we extended our hands and sang a blessing over the graduating seniors. I felt myself wanting to extend it over the parents too. As I drove to work this morning, I felt the same pull regarding the little tiny shoots in the fields and the seeds still under the ground and my friends who this morning woke up and headed to the barn and will be picking rock this afternoon.
“May God bless and keep you,
May God’s face shine on you:
May God be kind to you and give you peace.”