looking for harvest
The first tomatoes, the middle zucchini (because do you ever actually stop harvesting zucchini?) and the last green beans made their way to the kitchen table this week. This time of year is always surprising and overwhelming, in a good way... when the days are suddenly, unexpectedly filled with picking and putting up corn, preserving tomatoes in every way possible, and planning for back-to-school.
The metronome relentlessly pounds out the beat for my oldest to work through "Carnival of Venice" as I type this a few feet away, and out the window, the littlest is swinging mindlessly on the swing, still wearing her dress from her great-great-aunt's funeral this morning. Supper is in the oven, and the boys are alternating between the sandbox, the corn I asked them to husk, and giving the puppy some attention. In some ways, this picture is accurate for how the summer has been... and in other ways, it's not at all.
Not long ago, somewhere in some part of her social media feed, Abbie Halberstadt, the author of the book M is for Mama, which was one of my favorite reads this summer, challenged us as mothers not to look for the "harvest" of raising children, too soon. I really appreciated this reminder. It can be easy to slack off of certain things at certain times, expect too much, assume that because we have a good day, or even a good week, there's things that we've graduated from. Alternatively, it can lead to great discouragement if we're still working through all of the same things week after week, or even year after year, when I'd expected "harvest" by now. In fact, this morning was one where I truly began to wonder if we have even planted any seeds... as there was certainly no harvest anywhere in sight. It was difficult between siblings, difficult to see obedience, difficult to see growth. As we come to the end of a very good, but very hard, summer... I'm keeping it very present in my mind that I cannot expect the harvest of raising children, too soon. There remains much sowing to do, and we still have much to learn.
At the same time, there is such benefit in recognizing the growth that we have gone through... both me, and the children. The veggies that made their way to our kitchen table today did not just land there... they came only on the hind end of many, many lessons about watering and weeding and many days where people had to do things they didn't want to do. The eggs we now gather each day, just outside the back door... come to us only because someone has learned to feed and water and care for something other than themselves. The puppy behaves only to the extent that he is trained. There were things created... forts, baskets, cookies & bread & meals... steps taken in business... there were things celebrated and things mourned... places traveled, things experienced... risks taken, goals met. And although it is less obvious and I have to dig more for it, they have grown in character and relationships through these things.
And so, while the first half of this verse is true, because it is the Word of God, the second half is also...
"Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest." (John 4:35)
There is harvest to be reaped now - things to celebrate, things to give thanks for, the ways that my children are growing and learning. I walked into the kitchen this evening to see supper entirely prepped, the veggies taken from the soil and chopped into a bowl, and this is harvest that we would not have had three years ago, when we didn't plant a garden, or two years ago, when she didn't know how to use a knife or prep supper yet. I am so grateful for these glimpses of hope, and for the harvest that points to the greater harvest to come. The moments of victory we experience in everyday life, the ripe tomatoes... they're teaching us to keep sowing, to keep looking for what is to come.
The metronome has slowed its beat to accommodate "It Is Well With My Soul". This tune was hardly recognizable the first few days she plunked it out on the piano... the notes, the timing, it was all wrong. Not knowing how to play it yet, struggling with the unfamiliar markings of the song, it was messy and disjointed. Simply put, the song was "NOT well". But each day she keeps turning on the metronome, keeps working to get the notes into line. And each day, it sounds more like beautiful music.
Each moment we spend putting our souls into alignment with the heart of God, each seed that we sow in the hearts of our children... all of these things, they will contribute to a harvest. We only learn the tune of "It is Well With My Soul" through trial and trust, mini moments of reaping and sowing the good or the bad... only by slowly, over time, learning to keep time with God's metronome... in a messy, stumbling way first, of course, but coming to Him over and over to learn to be more like Him.