The transition to the farm from my years of “heady” work with the national church offices of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is pointing to a new vocation for me. This involves inviting others who visit the farm to “eavesdrop” into a lifestyle of living in the present moment; that is, paying attention to what is real right now.
In addition to operating our farm, we have been opening it up to others, trying to transmit to them a different way of being than the normal, everyday busy lifestyle. Now that my husband and I are retired, we’re realizing that this time is not just about us or the animals, but about ways to enter into a different and significant vocation.
My responsibility on the farm (along with husband, John) is to effectively and compassionately manage what we’ve been given. We provide to others who visit practical and visible examples of what it means to be open to God’s guidance and the stewarding of God’s creation.
I have learned about living in the present moment from walking our Border Collie dogs around our 40-acre field. I find myself settling into a calmness that also seems to affect the dogs’ energies. Rather than racing with them on the all-terrain vehicle, just walking with the dogs settles them down as both of us tune into a slower rhythm. I notice the new bird songs, the sweet perfume of budding alfafa, the abundance of wild raspberry bushes. Our dogs remind me to stay present and alert to God’s presence in the NOW.
Barbara Brown Taylor has written about the sacrament of everyday life where you take everything that is before you and see how this is an outward manifestation of a deeper grace – a grace that points to something mysterious, transformative and sacred. I believe that deeper grace for me has been a growing awareness of a vocation of sharing with others the “sacrament of everyday life,” manifested for me on Heatherhope Farm.