I am a city boy- born and raised. I work in the country. About 70 minutes separates my two worlds. I remember my boss driving me around the backroads of the farming communities where I would soon serve as a school principal. It was ten years ago. No matter in which direction I looked, it seemed like corn was all I could see. I had never seen so much corn. I thought it was beautiful.
This is a picture that I took today as I drove from my school to a meeting. I think that it is a perfect representation of the area in which I work. The picture confirms that there really is corn as far as the eye can see. Just ahead in the distance you can see the high school. There is plenty more corn beyond the high school. I think it’s as beautiful today as it was when I first took it in ten years ago.
This picture tells you a lot about this community. A lot of hard work went into those perfect rows of corn. They have been watched over, prayed for and expertly maintained since they day the seed went into the ground in May. This picture tells of a simpler mission in life: take care of yourself, take care of what you have and of what has been given to you and take care of each other.
One can’t help but notice that it won’t be long before this corn is ready to harvest. I suppose that one of these farmers could have simply thrown handfuls of seed to the wind and hoped for the best. I have no doubt that a couple of healthy plants would have made it from spring to fall. But there is a plan. These folks know how to work the soil, supply nutrients and keep the weeds at bay. To me, watching these fields transform through the spring and summer months is like watching an artist work in her medium. Surely, you can see the craftsmanship in the picture, can’t you?
The kids from this community will burst through the doors of my school in a week. Some will have stories of summer adventures at the county and state fairs, vacations and trips to see relatives. Many will not. Many will have survived a chaotic summer and will have witnessed addiction, depression, mental illness and other traumatic episodes. Some of these kids will be brand new to my school. Some I have known for years. They will need their school to provide calmness, safety and routine that they don’t normally have.
A few would be okay if we just simply threw them to the wind and hoped for the best, but we’re experts. We need a plan of action to nourish their minds and their spirits…and often their bodies. We need to pray for the strength and wisdom to help them weather the storms of life that still loom off in the distance. We need to cultivate.
Jesus once told his disciples that the people around them were ripe for the picking. They were hungry for some hope and good news for a change. My picture that I took today reminds me of this story, and it reminds me of the crop of students I will see next week.
They all need math and reading. Many of them will need far more. The fields are almost ready.