For some time now, I’ve pictured a long, low, rock wall across the front yard. Just like the ones we saw all over England and Wales.
Like this one.
Last Fall, I talked with Glenn’s brother, Clint, about us going over to his farm this Spring and starting what I assumed would be a very long task – as in months of effort - gathering the rocks. Clint is a farmer. Each Spring, before the corn gets too tall, he picks rocks out of his fields so that when his combine machines harvest the crops in the Fall, the machines don’t get clogged or broken.
A couple of weeks ago, Clint said they were picking rocks in the fields and loading them in a dump truck for me. His teen kids and their friends were doing the picking. He was planning to bring the rocks to me! Needless to say, I was completely surprised – and immensely grateful. We live almost an hour from him, so his offer was incredibly generous. I really wanted to show my appreciation by helping out as much as possible. So the kids and I have walked Clint’s fields a couple of times, with old screwdrivers, picking rocks out of the field and tossing them into the loader of a tractor as we walk along. One of Clint’s farmhands drives the tractor slowly while each of us scans about 4 rows of corn per person. Olivia was in charge of 2 rows.
It’s a hot, tiring job. One trip up the field is a mile, and after 4 lengths or so, most of our little ones were ready to be done. But I was so proud of them! They didn’t complain, even though they were dusty, hot, and tired. (of course I told them ahead of time they weren’t allowed to ask when we would be done) Afterwards we stopped for special drinks on the way home.
When the farmhand came and dumped the first load of rocks last Thursday, everyone was very excited. We took pictures of the dump truck,
the rocks being dumped,
the kids climbing up the pile.
the kids holding up rocks,
and then hiding behind them after we started moving them.
Woo hoo! We were all pretty excited.
But somewhere along the line, maybe after 2 hours, maybe it was after 4. The thrill waned.
And we started looking a little more closely at the distance we had yet to travel;
moving, piling, and stacking rocks.
We worked like crazy and spread the entire load in about 4 hours, weeding out some trash and pieces of metal that were mixed in with the rocks.
later that evening…..
came another load of rocks.
We didn’t take any pictures of that load.
We all went outside after dinner, as a family, and began moving the rocks. Some of the kids were singing, some made a chain and passed rocks down one by one while Luke kneeled and stacked them. We finished that load of rocks the next day.
And doubt set in my mind.
If you know me, you know that this sometimes happens to me. I get a great idea, I enlist helpers for a job which is dirty, messy, and completely overwhelming. And then about halfway through, or a little before, I think…
Is this going to look ok?
Is this going to be worth all the effort?
I lose sleep and agonize over what I’ve started, wondering how I can undo it and put it all back the way it was. But at that point, there is no turning back.
The worst thing about it this time was the amount of effort I had already required of the kids. I don’t like to waste time. Especially with something so time-consuming as this rock wall. The kids weren’t out for hours working on this rock wall because they thought it was a great idea. No, they were doing it because they love me and I wanted a rock wall. Well, and because I told them they were going to help. But mostly, because they love me.
At my SIL’s suggestion, we took a drive last night to a home nearby that has a low rock wall. We’ve seen it many times before now, but I wanted to see it firsthand again, hoping it would be helpful for all of us to see a finished rock wall with our own eyes.
And it was.
Last night, the fourth load of rocks was dumped. It is a huge pile!
But now that we’ve seen that other wall, we are all encouraged. We can see that we really are going to love the finished product of all our effort. Just seeing that other rock wall has given me, especially, a boost.
We may be working on this rock wall all summer. But now I don’t feel doubtful about whether or not we will feel the effort is worth it in the end. Plus it’s this kind of opportunity for hard, menial labor that help us appreciate the hard work of others.
And we’re making memories together. And that matters.
In a way, the rock wall is comparable to other hurdles or problems I’ve faced in my life. Sometimes, in the middle of a problem or trial, doubt or fear creeps in. And it would be nice if I could hop in the car and just drive a little ways down the road to get a glimpse of what the outcome might look like. But that’s where faith comes in.
“The substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not yet seen.”
In the meantime, while I wait to see how God moves the piles of rocks in my own and my children’s lives, continuously, into a long, strong wall,
I know the best thing to do is look at the piles He gives me with faith and acceptance.
Watch Him weed out doubt, weed out sin.
And Lord willing, He will strengthen me not to grow weary in well-doing.