Friday, January 8, 2010

When The Barn Burns Down

This past week I attended my Grandmother's funeral. Always an emotional rite of passage, this funeral brought tears and lessons. I have been introspective. It has been a call to action for me.

You see, I was reminded about the fire.

My Grandmother and Grandfather worked a dairy farm. Along with other Aunts and Uncles, they milked 300 head of cattle a day. All of the children, cousins to each other, worked the farm too - my father being a young boy at the time. The days were long and the work was difficult but it made for a wonderful life and a great work ethic.

One day billows of smoke were seen. My father remembers running almost a mile to see what was burning. Devastated, it was the milk barn. Over the next three days the entire barn and milking areas burned to the ground. It took every available hand from near and far to help put out the hay and ashes.

My Grandparents must have been devastated as they watched. They had ten children to care for. What would they do now?

Have you ever felt that way? Watching the ashes of your life like twigs of hay on fire, flipping and whirling in the heat of an all consuming raging fire? What will you do now?

I had heard about the fire before. What I had not heard before the day of the funeral was even as the fire was burning . . . the 300 cows still needed to be milked. Twice a day.

That my friend was powerful. Even as the barns were burning there were essentials that had to be addressed. Ten children. 300 cows. And the barn is on fire. They did not give up. They kept milking the cows. They kept their children close. And now years later their faith and courage inspires me to do the same.

Even when the barn burns down . . . keep your family close . . . keep your faith . . . and keep milking. One day you will look back and realize that you had the most important things all along.