Sunday, January 6, 2008

Our View of Work, Our View of Life

While my 83 year old grandmother was visiting the doctor a couple months ago , the nurse asked her when she retired. My little, gentle, very soft spoken grandmother just looked at her and kind of chuckled. My grandmother was widowed almost 30 years ago. She and my grandfather were dairy farmers in upstate New York. In their early years my grandfather would usually work another job along with the farm work. Other than a couple of small jobs when she was young, my grandmother was always the keeper of her home, or should I say, the keeper of her hundred acer farm. Truth be known my grandmother spent more time tending to the animals and land than she did the house. I believe that this is a beautiful image of a helpmeet (Titus 2:5). This is how she made her husband successful. She was a kind and submissive wife.

I LOVED going to my grandparents almost every weekend growing up. As long as I can remember she always let me have free reign in the house, I'd cook up a storm, clean and 'organized' for her, while she'd be out milking the cows.

My grandfather who was not so gentle (picture the Archie Bunker type) would come in and grumble because I would move his stack of papers off the corner of the kitchen table...but I never doubted his love for me. I digress...

My grandparents were excellent managers of their money and belongings. After almost 30 years my grandmother has managed to keep the farm without debt. Although her savings has dwindled down to almost nothing she still has the house and land. The main barn burned several years ago and it was like we had all suffered a death when we lost the barn. My uncle has rebuilt a smaller barn to keep the hay in. My grandmother STILL gets out on the tractor to cut, rake and bale hay. I admire her strength and determination. She could have easily sold the farm years ago and lived comfortably in a small place for her remaining years. But she loves her home and she loves to work AT HOME. It is my hope and prayer that her children and grandchildren (and now great-grandchildren) will do whatever we can to ensure that she can stay on that farm, and WORK until God Himself calls her home and says to her, "Well done".

In Genesis, God's first command to Adam, even before He gave him Eve, was that he had to "cultivate and keep" the garden. This represents work. Maybe not by the sweat of the brow or fighting thorns and thistles, but it was still work to do.

I hate when I hear people talking about when they retire they will live a life of ease. What a sad existence. Now to retire from a certain job and then pour yourself into a real passion of serving others, or a different kind of work, that is wonderful. But to spend your life making and investing money just so you can live your last 20-30 years doing nothing, that is missing the whole point of LIFE! So what was my grandmother's answer to the nurse's question about when she retired? She just laughed and shrugged her shoulders, because there is no such thing as 'retirement' for people like her. :o)

1 comment:

Carmen said...

I read your blog a lot but don't get a chance to comment much. I do have to say that I love your grandmother's work ethic! While others are building for their "retirement" in the warm weather playing golf we want to be active in our children and grandchildren's lives (our oldest is 10 and youngest is due in May so we have a way to go!). We want to minister to others and be used until we are used up. Thanks for the reminder of what we're here for!

Hugs,
Carmen