Everywhere we look, there are scenes of fall, harvest tableaus with bales of hay, pumpkins, and shocks of corn. It reminds us in our modern day of our agricultural roots and how farmers gather their crops before frost and either store or sell them. I think of the past year since the last harvest season and I feel like I’m walking down this lovely road. Join me on this stroll and consider the year in review.
I walk and ponder a blog post that captured some of what this season of harvest means from a spiritual standpoint. Written by guest blogger, Benjamin L. Corey on the World Vision site, he says the symbolic meaning of harvest encompasses two main areas: God’s provision for us and God’s blessing of others. https://www.worldvision.org/blog/lord-of-the-harvest
God has provided for my financial and material needs over this past year. While it felt uncertain, because of now being on my own, I’ve reaped the rewards of being able to contribute to a retirement pension. I was blessed with good health so that I could carry out my nursing positions over those years.
God has provided for my emotional needs, especially in living close to my two grandsons. During the isolation of the pandemic and sheltering-in-place, I was still able to see them, to hold them in my arms. Except for the fourteen days of quarantine, after being with Mama her last 2 days in the nursing home, I’ve been able to be with my immediate family.
God’s provided me with vast support from my extended family and friends. While it’s been difficult to be together during the pandemic, I’ve spent more time with them through long ‘phone visits.’ That one-to-one time, just focused on each other has yielded some very satisfying conversations. I ended those calls feeling I knew them more deeply.
Walking on down the road, I consider the second part of harvest: God’s blessing for others. I think about the Biblical principle of being blessed so that we can bless. This is the time when we consider our financial commitments for the upcoming year to our churches and other organizations. Now I need to complete my pledge to my church–giving back from my abundance. It’s time to think of the community needs around me and what I’m being called to give–blessed now I bless others.
Sometimes God’s blessings for others come through our human hands and shared experiences. When we’ve gone through a trial, others often reach out to us and value what we say. Twenty years ago I went through breast cancer treatment and I still find my experience is helpful to others. Recently I was wearing my “Relay for Life,” American Cancer Society shirt. It’s so old many people would throw it out. But I wear it as a way to reach out to others going through cancer.
A man in the next building was walking his dog and saw me pass wearing that purple survivor shirt. He asked if I’d had cancer, then shared that his wife was going through treatment for ovarian cancer for the third time. Days later, I met her and she told me how nice it was to talk with someone who understood the effect of chemo on your appetite.
“My friends just think I’m being picky,” she explained, “but I never know from moment-to-moment what I’m going to feel like eating.”
It was a small thing, but maybe a big thing for her that day we talked to feel she’d been understood.
Recently, my marital separation has been the shared experience that has linked me to another woman in the apartment complex. She was walking her beautiful Labradoodle and I commented on how much I missed having a dog.
“Well, my sons got me this one because I’m going through a divorce,” she said. “We got married at 19 and now at 45 my husband decided he wants someone else.” We talked a while about our experiences and even though she was twenty years my junior, we held most things in common.
“It’s been great talking with you,” she said. “You’ve been my blessing today.”
“And you’ve been mine,” I told her. I was happy to finally be meeting more people in my new community and to share honestly with another person going through divorce.
She reminded me of the men and women I met this past year in my DivorceCare group. They were all younger, too and we all supported each other; shared pain became shared blessing.
There have been many others in my path over the past year who’ve been a huge blessing to me: my therapist, lawyers, financial planner, pastor, bankers. They have helped me to navigate my unexpected path.
I don’t have hayfields or gardens to harvest like I had on the farm when I was a girl; I do have fields of blessings, God’s provisions that have helped me through another year. My hope is that you’ve had abundance in your life, and being blessed– you are now a blessing to those around you.
May it be so for all of us.
How about you?
What are some of the provisions you’ve benefitted from in your life over the past year?
How have you blessed others through your abundance?