Since my husbands “lack of judgement” this summer I have been making a lot of effort to spend time with him doing the things he enjoys, and reducing the burden of both working and operating a farm full time. For me this usually means staying up till he gets home from his second shift job to catch a few moments with him before we both go to bed as we only see each other two days a week as I work first shift.
Tuesday night, I went out to help my husband feed and bed the cows on our farm when he got home from at 11pm. I dumped feed tubs into feed troughs while he started running the paper shredder to bed the cows. After dumping feed I went up to help him open new feed for the next day while we waited on the paper shredder to finish running. Usually he tries to do this before he goes to work, but as I have been real sick recently he has been working during the day on a friends farm to earn more money.
Opening feed for us, is different from how most people would picture it. While we feed a combination of things, our primary grain when its available is bread. Ever wonder where the almost stale bread goes from the store shelf when it isn’t bought? It comes to farms like ours and we use it as a supplement feed for our cows. While this makes nice fat happy cows for your steak, it can be quite a chore to feed. The loaves of bread come to us exactly as they exist on the shelf, in their wrappers and with ties on them. We have to open each package in order to feed it to the cows. So we typically sit on 5 gal buckets and open 20-30 packages of bread (depending upon size) into eleven large tubs that we then carry to the downstairs portion of the barn to feed our cows. We shove all the empty plastic bread packages and ties into oversized garbage bags and then send them to be recycled. Four or five days worth of plastic fits into one of these large bags.
As it is late and cold we hurry to open feed for the next day and complete our chores. I notice several times that as I shove bags from the bread into our larger bag that my engagement ring is loose from the cold and I push it further back up my finger. Once the chores are all done, the cows are fed and bedded we turned out the lights and headed out to close up the barn for the night. It was just as my husband shut the door and latched it behind me that I noticed I was missing my engagement ring. “Wait a minute I have problem” I say as I turn around and head back in. My husband immediately concerned, probably from my tone of voice, asked whats wrong. I explained to him what happened and that my ring must be either in one of the tubs of bread or the bags we had opened. We both go back in and as I am desperately looking around he tells me it makes more since to wait until the next day to look when the lighting will be better. I agree and we head off to eat dinner and go to bed.
The next morning I sleep in and my husband and children are out of the house when I get up. I hurry to bottle feed two baby cows while considering the daunting chore ahead of me. I know already I could be searching for hours and turn up empty handed. I am teary eyed as I think of how, even though my very expensive ring is insured, to replace it would be a sentimental loss. When my husband gave me this ring four years ago, it was at a time when I had given up on him. He designed it online and when he gave it to me as my second engagement ring he told me the heart shaped diamond was because he was giving me his heart. He had never spoken to me that way before, and as I think about the possible loss I realize there is a possibility he never will again.
I head towards the barn, and something made me pause and look over the horizon. I see a very faint rainbow in the distance. I realize then that I just need to trust in God. Whatever the outcome of my impending search I just need to trust that it is in Gods hands, and it is just a physical representation of my husbands love for me. The ring cannot add or subtract from that love.
I searched for close to three hours, removing each piece of bread from each of the elven tubs in hopes it was laying on top of a piece or fell down to the bottom of the tub. If it fell into the bread and he then feeds it to the cows I know I will never see it again.l No luck there. I dug through and shook the packages from the bread we had opened the night before. Halfway through I realize it is extremely unlikely that the ring is in the lower half of the bag as those would have been from much earlier in the week. I then start looking around the floor of the barn and instantly realize that if it fell there I would also likely never see it again as there are quite sizable gaps between the floor boards under which the cows live and eat. After nearly three hours it was time to go to lunch with my grandma. I hurried in and changed as my husband arrived home from the work he was doing at his friends farm. He tells me he thinks I should bring the bags in and dump them on the kitchen floor later that night and search again as a last ditch option.
I go about my day as I normally would, and as I do I find myself reflecting and praying. I ask God for clarity as to what this lesson is to teach me. I ask Him if this lesson is even for me or is it for someone else I know? Surely patience isn’t the moral of this story as I often tell my daughter to have when she’s panicking and cant find something she misplaced. I already am learning that lesson in waiting for my husband to catch up to me spiritually and emotionally. What is the moral going to be to this story? Why do I have to search so hard for this one thing?
That night I do exactly that as he suggested. I dump first the bags I haven’t searched through yet. I ask my kids to please feel each one after I shake it to double check that I didn’t somehow miss it. As I keep searching I near the last three or four bags and realize it’s over, its lost. I’m saddened but I know we will be ok, and I ask my children to help me start picking up the bags that are on the floor stating I would research the other bags later. As I pick up that last three or four bags I see it. Its inside a bag that has been ripped open and is caught near the tie that held the bag closed. I excitedly tell the children I found it as I ripped it out and took a picture to send to my husband and let him know I found it. My son shouts praise the lord! As he dives into the pile of bags on the floor like they are a pile of leaves!
So often in life we are lost. We search and search and search for something that will satisfy our human desires. God wants us to be found. He wants us to put our faith and trust in Him that His plans our greater than Ours and He is working for the ultimate good. Most often it is hard to see in the moment what good can come from our current situation. If we aren’t ever lost how can we rejoice when we are found? I pray that if you are currently lost that you will take just a moment to let yourself be found. Then jump into your big pile of leaves and rejoice in it!