What Can I Expect In 2017?
Tom wants to hurt me, suddenly. He was always throwing his substantial weight around. Now he is throwing it at me. Tom is my male turkey. He is big. Really big. Even when he is not puffed up. I’m used to him shadowing me when I enter his domain. 50X15 of internal fencing meant to contain and protect my eight waterfowl and turkeys (now numbering 2). I’m not used to him charging me when I turn my back. I was used to my billy goat nudging me and always kept a close eye, and sometimes a thick stick in hand when I dealt with the Boer goats. A new paradigm. An evolution. A potential hazard. Why am I surprised?
It’s my nature to be surprised when relationships change. It’s to my shock when my purview collides with a new reality. It’s my demoralization when my handling of new circumstances with familiar methods fails to yield familiar results. I certainly resist preparing myself for the challenges of new people, places and things. I am a mark for every grifter, whiner, or malignant narcissist who leans on my country gate. These occurrences empty my pockets. They strain my sympathies. They mar my humanity. I don’t want to abandon mankind and become a hermit. I do want to better prepare for those who will surely be leaning on my gate in 2017.
The flood in May at Sawmyl Synders Farm changed a lot of things, not all for the worse. For details of the deluge, see prior blogs. On the down side, my plans for future expansion of farm endeavors are permanently canceled. On the up side, I’m not completely giving up, but rather adopting plan B, which I still haven’t fully fleshed out. As for the up side, my eyes were opened to many things. I need to have a lifelong pursuit that is not challenged by the vagaries of weather, people, or health. What might that be? Do tell. Next up side, I realize there are people in my life who are more important than flood prone property and death dependent livestock. My bundles of joy: wife, children, grandchildren. Always have a life to live separate from them but never think of living your life without them. My wife is retiring. My children are building. My g-kids are awakening.
Another up side awakened in me when that flood tried to drown my spirit. The Church. Christian Church. St. Issidores. The new spirituality entered me like a lamb and has since been my challenging lion. The only people who came out in the night in my water-logged hour of need were those genuine believers at a church who called me family before I knew that I was. Now, I say challenging my lion because I stepped into the church with no doors with my eyes closed to distrust, open to mutuality and accepting of appropriate difference. The eye opening occurrences have stunned me. I know that I am naive for my years. I know I should have put on my big boy pants before entering the unknown-to-me land of mission. What did I discover? Desperate people do desperate things. Tribal behavior remains when tribes merge. The young act young, that’s their only fault. My discoveries demand that I change. Reality can be patient but it is also indifferent to persistent myopia.
Three things stand in the way of 2017 becoming a better year than 2016. The first resists any form of control but respects preparation, resilience, and reverence. The weather. She is not God but she has his ear and she should have ours. A rain slick and rubber boots is nice. Even if the deluge is belly button high. With boots full of water and a slick soaked on the inside it’s still nice to know – you were prepared. If the water didn’t carry you away, you can be sure of three things. The rain will stop. You are alive to start rebuilding. Nobody knows the trouble you’ve seen (so don’t pay any attention to their bromides and bloviation).
The second thing that stands in the way of a better year is something you can’t control but you can influence. People. Again there are three things to incorporate into influencing people. No. Say no. When what they want is not what you want – say no. Next, boundaries. Money? How much do you want to give or spend versus how much the charity case will try for (as much as you have?). Accommodation? Every tribe has their nomenclature and ritual but when in Rome – act appropriately. Harsh reproach won’t work on just about anyone out of diapers. Example and suggestion might but sometimes a cause has to be lost in order for the possibility of other higher causes to be successful. Finally, choices. When individuals render themselves of no useful purpose, then your purpose for them is no use. Let go so that another opportunity with another person may be allowed in.
The last thing that stands in the way of a better tomorrow is the thing that yields to control, influence, preparation, resilience, and reverence. You. Or me in this case. My year will be better if my health and welfare get high priority. Take care of my heath and wealth. Build on the ruin of real failure and rejoice in discovery of goodness in near misses and great good fortune. Take every opportunity to gain from the things that happen and don’t, that frighten and inspire. Treasure all you have. Avoid turning great bounty into sour grapes. Stay true to your evolving beliefs and deny false prophets from entering in to what has proven to be true to you your entire life. Being positive isn’t always the answer but having both binocular forward vision and a rear view mirror perspective adds to your chances. What am I getting at? Yes, go high but don’t forget your lows. What is still the biggest mystery? Who is always the hardest to convince? Why is everything that is so important so hard? Where can all the answers be found? When will change stop? When will hope begin?