Community. We had friends over for dinner last night. They have six girls close in age to our six youngest. Our active, noisy kids, who seem to fuss a good bit with each other played amazingly well together. Most of mine are boys and we loved how the girls and boys all ran around the farm, petting animals and not having issues with "they only have girl toys" or "they only have boy toys." Thirteen children ran around and parents shared great conversation and a thrown-together meal for all.
Our friends are so connected in our community. Veritably everyone I talked about the husband piped up, "Oh, he's my cousin," or some relation. We laughed but it's something that makes our community special. Sure, some relationships may erode or fade over time and people may act like strangers, but on the positive side, there is an accountability factor. Would that we felt that with all of our neighbors. A connectedness even deeper than blood. Something more spiritual. As Christians might call it, "being part of a body."
We laughed some more, we shared fresh milk from my cow Betsy and talked about earlier times. About a connection with the land and soil. We talked about how Betsy's milk changes flavor slightly, depending on what she has eaten. A Jersey, she has a rich, creamy milk (the cream is amazing, really) with a yellowish color you don't see in the supermarket from the beta-carotenes and vitamins she consumes in our pasture grass and her alfalfa. There are probiotics in her milk that are so healthy for our immune systems. And it all comes from the soil we live on, the rain that falls on us and the sun that shines down over us.
We can live on sterilized, fortified products--and antibiotics and lists of medications. Those can be life-saving and good. But in an unbalanced relationship, they can be unhealthy for the body. Somehow, drinking this natural milk, eating local organic beef and vegetables and even local honey feels healthy. It feels like living in relationship with the land I'm living on. In a similar way, living connected to the people around me--not stuck in front of the television or gaming device or computer--working with them, volunteering, truly caring for them, living in community with them is lifeblood to the body. One gives and thereby receives.
Man was not created to be alone, but to live in community. There is a place for solitude, retreat, and cloistered communities. There are certainly different gifts and temperaments. But we were made for each other. We are healthiest when in communion with each other. I pray that you are able to find your place in the body that comprises all of us, locally and globally. Start right where you are. Prayer is the most powerful connection and effective means.Give thanks for what you do have, not lament what is missing. Find God right where you are and share His love.
A Happy Thanksgiving to you!
The Abbey Farm