Saturday, January 13, 2024

Celtic Music and Still Dreaming about the Alps

"Christian agrarianism" is an oxymoron. Land can no more be "Christian" than the chair I'm sitting on. And yet ... people who live on the land (German "auf dem Lande") seem to think there's a special joy to being so closely connected to God's creation. 

A scene as simple as sheep munching on hay you grew yourself brings a sense of pleasure to a farmer. 

I was reminded of this when I watched a video today by two Irish folk singers. Isn't it a lovely celtic tune? 

The haunting line that stood out to me was, "You cannot own the land, the land owns you." True, we all live on God's good earth, but it's easy to miss some important life lessons if you've never experienced the agrarian lifestyle, including the joy found in really hard physical work, the benefits of perseverance, the faith in God that farming requires, and sometimes even the brutal harshness of nature. The work is very rewarding, but there's no need to idealize it. The thing I like most about living on a farm is the absence of things like car horns, boom boxes, too many lights, and traffic in general. Also, unless there's a full moon, the stars are amazing.  

Speaking of rewarding work, my workout today was again focused on developing those muscles that climbing the Allalinhorn will require. These include your back muscles.

Your arm muscles.

And your legs muscles. 

I face the challenges of aging the same way I've always faced life's challenges. In lifting and in life, you realize that there will be good patches and bad patches but neither will last forever. I have learned, with my own two feet and my own two arms, the meaning of both triumph and failure, and how fleeting both of these are. I know that today I am stronger than I ever imagined I could be, not in a physical way as much as in the belief that with God's help I can face life's challenges with humor and hope. All of us can find a way to move forward if we're willing to take the risk of moving off the spot were stuck on. No, athletics doesn't promise to make me live longer. Exercise doesn't entitle me to anything other than the act of being mobile. And that's enough. What a wonder that here, in the winter of my life, the joy I felt the very first time I caught a wave or ran a mile is back. It's back because I know every step I take is a step enabled by my Creator, taking me closer to who he wants me to be. 

One day this life will be over. I cannot escape from that. So I have to meet life head on, just as you do.