Friday, June 15, 2012

Considering what is truly worthwhile

Flint chips were falling to the ground as the young father carefully shaped the rough piece of rock, using the skills that had been taught to him by his father.  For generations the art had been a pride of his people, knowing that the physical well-being of his family depended on the carefulness and pride he invested into the rock.  His people had occupied the Susquehanna River valley for hundreds of years, exploring the vast wealth of the region, along with hunting and fishing the area to provide for the basic needs of family living.  Children were playing as the rock took more and more the intended shape.  Their laughter could be heard above all the noise of busy people doing their tasks.  It was a busy and challenging time of the year, but as a matter of fact, every season was difficult and busy.  The leaves were beginning to fall and much had to be completed in order to prepare for the winter ahead.  Some of the crops were yet unattended to and preparations for the long winter ahead were not completed.  The young father was aware that his little children were content to play with the others while he worked, but still he couldn’t help but be frustrated at what little time he had to spend with them.  Obligations constantly had to be met, and he knew that there was only one who could meet these obligations—him.  He thought about the future.  Would it always be this way—the four seasons with all the foreboding tasks that each required?  He mused upon how little time he had had with his own father to do the ‘fun’ things.  The sun was setting in the west as he was completing the work on the rock.  It looked perfect.  He smiled as he put the rock in its finished form into its special place, ready for its usefulness on the morrow.  His wife was already preparing the children for a good night of sleep. 
            Another young man eyed the field as he finished another long trek across it.  It had been a busy season for him already.  Twenty-five more acres needed to be plowed and then he would have that task completed.  He looked back as the big diesel tractor easily plowed the black rich dirt that had been farmed by his family for generations.  He mused how technology had changed the way things had been done in doing the same task over the past 75 years.  His grandfather had plowed these same fields using a team of horses and a single bottom plow.  His father had used a gas tractor and a two bottom plow, but now his large diesel rig could pull a five bottom plow through the same dirt easily.  The change had not only been in machinery, but also in productivity.  His grandfather had a herd of 15 cows, his father a herd of 50, but now he could care for a herd of 100.  It seemed like a real advancement, but something strange kept gnawing at him.  Was life really any better after all, even with all of the new gadgets and technology?  There never seemed to be enough time for the needs of the family.  As he raised his plow out of the ground to make a turn in the field, his eyes focused on the beautiful Susquehanna, making its way toward the southwest in the same channel it has used for hundreds of years.  Had it always been that way—the squeeze between time and family?  Would it always be that way?  Something caught his eye, so he climbed down off the massive diesel tractor to investigate.  As he picked it up, wiping the dirt off the carefully shaped flint arrowhead, he imagined what life must have been like for the one whose hands had last touched it – the one who had created it to meet the needs of his family.  Not much could be found to show for a life invested 500 years earlier.  He thought within himself “Will my life show more?”  He mused as he continued to wipe cleaner and brighter the arrowhead, enjoying the silence without the big tractor running.  The Susquehanna could be heard quietly running its course.  Suddenly in the distance he could hear his 10 year-old son crying “Daddy!”  Looking up, he saw his little lad carrying a big grin and a fishing pole.  What had seemed important to him could wait, while he grabbed the hand of who was important and headed for the river.  “…you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this story. This is a lesson God has been revealing to me over the past couple of years. I aim every morning to commit my day to be obedient to accomplish what pleases God and not get caught up in the craziness. Life is too short.