Thursday 9 October 2014

Thanks Giving Thanks

A wise man said, "I think God made it like this.  We were supposed to all have something.  This land isn't mine, it's His.  I just use it for awhile.  And then somebody else will use it.  And that's the way it should be."

Sounds almost biblical, doesn't it?  Or at least like it's from a famous deeply spiritual thinker.  And it is.  Well, maybe not the "famous" part - unless you're from Bashaw or Mirror, Alberta.  It's from Ted Buelow.  He's a farmer.

I'm quoting Ted from a video about his farming family produced by FarmOn.  But it might as easily have come from Deuteronomy, or any number of other places in the Bible that remind us that we are stewards of the land, not owners; that the land doesn't belong to us, we belong to the land.

I think that when Ted says he'll just "use it for awhile," he means something more than how we so often mean "use."  He means more of a relationship.  He means he puts in hard work, the land does too, and we all benefit.  I think he means that we're all meant to work with creation, not over it or against it, and that makes us all - the land included - better.  And when our time is done, we leave it for others, hopefully leaving it better for the relationship it had with us.

I'm not a farmer, but even I know that it doesn't always seem like nature's particularly cooperative.  Neither are we.  But that's sometimes how relationships are.  There's more than one party.  They need work and constant attention.  They need understanding and love and grace and compassion.

So I'm thankful, not just on Thanksgiving but all year long, that farmers feed me.  But I'm also thankful for what farmers like Ted can teach us: imagine what the world would be like if we applied that stewardship thinking to all of creation, especially each other.  It would be life-giving as well as life-living.  "I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil." Ecclesiastes 3:12-13.