The big barn at sun rise.

The big barn as the sun is setting.

Tick-tock.  Tick-tock.  Tick- tock. I’m listening to Grandpa’s 150 year old mantel clock.  (This post was written on Tuesday, September 17.) Leaning back in an old, floral, upholstered chair with my laptop, I view Grandpa’s big, green roofed barn out the window of the old, farmhouse window.

Grandpa and his sons built the big barn in 1938, but he bought the farm in 1925 with its log house dating back to 1835. He farmed the land, moved the house to the center of the farm, and added two floors of rooms and a basement and re-sided the house. He persevered, building his farming business and pursuing a way of life. Grandma kept the house, raised her chickens, preserved food to last the year. . .  while she and Grandpa raised a crop of ten children. On the farm. Wheat, corn, soybeans, hogs, chickens, some cattle– a few milk cows, and a few horses, a dog and some barn cats. Tractors, combines, farm machinery and tools.  The big barn, the hog barn, the chicken coop, the machine barn, the smoke shed, the gray shingled, slate roofed farm house. The fields east and west divided by a grassy lane.

Farmers connect their identity with the land. I’m finally identifying with this paradigm. I’ve never been here at the family farm alone. I’m alone. Sitting in the living room, I’m listening. Looking. Drinking it in. Sighing. Reviving.

I informed you in the last post that I was heading out on a cross country trek with Judi, my  dear friend from Denver.  I’ve been gone from my Arizona home since September 2. I flew to Denver, and the next day, Judi and I struck out in her Honda Pilot packed with stuff.

We drove for two days, spending our first night at a Hilton Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska. In Chicago, Judi left me at my daughter, Amanda’s house and she drove on to her parents’ home in Cleveland, Ohio.  I spent about ten days at Amanda’s, and then she and I drove to Ft. Wayne, Indiana for a family gathering at my niece’s new home. After 4 ½ hours of chatter and laughter, we were on to the family farm in Findlay, Ohio. Amanda and I enjoyed time with Aunt Mary (the last of the ten children living on earth) and Uncle Bud, who now own and maintain the farm, living in their own brick home built up the road from the historic home.  Amanda has now returned to Chicago, and I’m alone at the big farm house while I wait for Judi to join me here, and we’ll strike out again to trek back to Denver.

Tick-tock. Tick-Tock. So many, many stories fill the spaces here. I love the farm more than ever. It represents my lineage on one side. It gives me roots.  I do not have a childhood home to return to, and Paul and I have moved around even more than my parents did.  In Arizona, I have felt like a cosmic amoeba – shapeless in shapelessness space.  Rootless. Directionless. Bewildered.  So much to drink in there, yet lost.  But of course, not – in Christ.

Coming home to the farm settles me. Feeds me. Cheers me.  Yes, I cried like a baby here, but then a peaceful, calm joy has arisen with the dawn.  We are made for Home. Where is Home? In my last post I wrote about Acts 17:28 which explains that we “live, move, and exist in God.” God is the home of His children. Beautifully, the great wanderer Moses expresses, “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations” (Psalm 90:1).  This is good. Settling.

Yet, God has made us to be flesh and blood, not pure spirit, as He is. Thus, He has created a material world for us to care for and create living spaces.  Moses was seeking the Promised Land. We await a New Heaven and New Earth — material space in which to dwell with our incarnate Lord Jesus.  All of our present living can be viewed as a foreshadowing of the ideal real that awaits us.

Thus, we enjoy designing home spaces in which we imitate God’s beauty, order, and peace through the ways in which we manage our space.  The family farm reflects the work of God on planet earth: broad fields of rich earth edged by pine, maple, and oak forests.  The family farm reflects the diligent and creative hands of humans, my relatives and area neighbors: plowed fields sown with corn, wheat, and soybeans, lanes and country roads carved around and between fields, farm houses, barns, and sheds settled within the boundaries of each country farm.  Our farm buildings were painted last year – all buildings have green roofs that stand out in the sky line, yet blend well, and the walls are a light or medium gray. Grandpa always had green roofs atop the gray buildings, so the tradition holds.

I’m adjusting to existing within a larger space here at the farm, as compared to our 10,000 square foot lot in Prescott Valley, Arizona. The delightful thing is that no matter the size of the land owned, all the earth and sky around me are mine to enjoy with my eyes. I don’t need to own or care for them. I’m free to appreciate them and praise their Maker. This is good. Very good.

[I had no internet access at the farm. Back in Denver at Judi’s Victorian home, The Bliss House, I had internet access but little time or focus to work on this blog. I flew home from Denver two days ago, and now I want to get this post to you.]

Settled back in again in Prescott Valley, I’m home. My earth-space home. But I’ve never left Home – in Him.

Lord, You are my dwelling place.

Good, good.

Categories: Spiritual Growth | Tags: , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Tick-Tock

  1. Ah, to muse, and perhaps to dream…. Well thought, and well said. I enjoyed the peace and serenity vicariously.

    • kltolsen

      Good, good. Glad you enjoyed the experience vicariously.
      Hope all is well with you and your family!

  2. Carolyn Wilkins

    So much to consider here. I can feel and understand your sadness and joy as you reflect about where home is. Like you and Paul, we have moved many times in our ministry and the place where I lay my head to sleep at night, has changed many times during my life. I can’t even count them all! That might be a good exercise! 🙂 And, like you, I have thought many times about where my “home” is. I never quite know what to tell people when asked. I must admit to just a little bit of envy that you have a farm to visit where you can connect with some family history. Don’t get me wrong — I love that for you! I would just like one place where I could go to be close to ancestral history. I would be happy with some pictures or names at this point!! But, we are both blessed to know who we are in Christ and where our “real forever” home is! I’m just so grateful for that identity!! Thank you sweet friend for that reminder. Keep writing! You bring it all “home!”

    • kltolsen

      Thanks for your response, Carolyn! I too am so grateful for our identity in Christ! And I’m so grateful that we are sisters in Christ!

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