Monday, November 03, 2008


There was a quarter moon outside our ten cent town two evenings ago when I arrived home. A good portion of the family had assembled for a bonfire -- and then they wanted to go on a hayride. So being the really good guy I am, I went to the barn, dropped the log-splitter off the tractor, and fire Mr. Deere up to go get the hay wagon. The sun was starting to set and it was a nice bouncy ride over the recently picked bean field and across the road back to Nancy's nephew's house where the wagon was. In a stroke of luck (not driving skill), actually backed the tractor perfectly to the wagon so that I all I had to do was pick up the tongue, slide it over the draw bar, drop the pin in and... viola' (as the French farmers say), I was good to go.

Arriving back at the bonfire, the sun had set, the embers were glowing, and hot dogs were roasting. After a truly unhealthy meal, it was time to set out on the hayride. To be lit or not lit (the tractor -- not me) was the question. Not much moon, some starlight, but there's just something about warning lights that takes the fun out of a hayride. So, I thought I'd try doing it in the dark -- steering my way around the field (and keeping out of the woods) by what little light God had provided.

It was enough. In fact, I was amazed how much light there was once we pulled away from the fire and my eyes adjusted to the night. I could easily pick out the woods from the field and indeed saw variations of soil in the field that I had never noticed before in the daylight. The sandier soil shone different in the starlight than did the more clay-laden and the loamy (all words that didn't mean much to me just a few years ago). It was even easy to pick out Zeus the big black dog running back and forth in front of the tractor or zipping off into the woods in pursuit of Ebony our black cat.

It reminded me, that when things seem pretty dark, we often are given more light than we realize at first glance. We -- I -- tend to curse the darkness instead of stepping out into the light that is there. Driving that night in the dark reminded me that God gives me the light I need to make my way. Regardless of my life being in the daytime or feeling beset by nighttime. The secret to successfully navigating by the little light the other night was to give my eyes time to adjust to their perceived lack of light -- and to go slow. I geared the tractor down and moved along at a speed appropriate to the conditions.

It was a reminder I needed.

-- Brent

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