Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: growth

A time to learn

Suddenly, almost unexpectedly, we were parents. We placed our baby into the blanket lined oval laundry basket on the seat between us and drove home.

Up to this point we had thought we knew all about how to raise a child. What we really had were strong ideas about the mistakes our parents had made and a determination not to repeat them. Well, life happens and you don’t have time to think about how you are going to react. It didn’t take long to realize we were making some of the mistakes that we had resolved to never make. But we were learning – about raising a baby and about ourselves.

The ideal age to become parents is somewhere between the stage where you feel completely helpless and the stage where you feel you have all the answers and it’s the baby’s fault if she doesn’t fit those answers.

We loved Michelle from the start. She wasn’t a difficult child and we weren’t totally incompetent parents. But the learning curve was pretty steep. “Love covers the multitudes of sins.” I believe that when a child feels loved the parent-child relationship will survive the mistakes of the parents. And we certainly did make mistakes.

When Michelle was about three months old, we noticed a bulge in her groin when she cried. We took her to the doctor who confirmed that it was a hernia. She had surgery to fix the hernia and was only in the hospital a few days. The hospital was in Carman, about 15 minutes away. I was busy at work, but Chris spent time with Michelle every day. I guess we, I, should have done more.

Chris’s birthday came March 27, when Michelle was five months old. We left her with Nancy, a friend from church, and went into Winnipeg to have dinner together. We had an enjoyable day, but when we got back we found that Nancy and Michelle had not. Every time Michelle saw Nancy’s face she began to scream. The only way Nancy could feed Michelle was to hold her so that she was facing away from her.

Several weeks later we went to the Polo Park Mall in Winnipeg to do some shopping. As soon as we walked in and Michelle saw all the people she began to scream. We went out until she settled down, then tried again, with the same result. For the rest of our day in town one of us would sit in the car with Michelle while the other shopped. After that day she seemed to trust that we weren’t going to abandon her again and there were no more incidents like that.

After a hot day in the summer we drove to Syl’s Ice Cream shop in Carman and bought milkshakes. There was some left in mine after we got home and I decided to see what Michelle would do with it. I put the container in her hands and the straw to her lips. She looked dubious. What is this thing? She started to suck on the straw and I watched the liquid rise slowly to the top. When it hit her mouth, the dubious look vanished and she began to suck on that straw in earnest. She was about nine months old.

The sound of not so distant thunder

We are into the gloriously long days of a Saskatchewan summer, where the sun rises before 5:00 a.m. and doesn’t set until 9:30 p.m. Since we live on the flat, open prairie we have an extra three quarters of an hour of full daylight before sunrise and the same after sunset, giving us 18 hours of daylight. All living things thrive in a Saskatchewan summer – providing we get enough rain.

There has been sufficient rainfall this year, but not an abundance. It was time that a good shower would be refreshing, and the forecast has been promising rain for today. Earlier in the week there was mention of 30 – 45 mm. As the week went on that number diminished to 10 – 15. That would still have kept everything growthie and green, but we would have been hoping there would soon be another shower.

There were dark clouds rolling in this morning, with faint rumbles of distant thunder. At 9:00 the skies opened up and down came heavy rain, accompanied at first by pea-size hail. That first shower didn’t last long, but brought over 10 mm of rain. Some of my wife’s flowers look a little bedraggled from the hail, but no major damage was done and I expect they will look fine in a day or two.

The thunder and rain continued off and on for the remainder of the day. At one point, I was sitting here by the computer and I heard the snap of an electrical arc in the office, followed immediately by thunder outside. My wife was in the kitchen and heard the same sound in the living room, accompanied by a flash of light. Everything appears to be all right, but that is the closest we have been to a lightning strike for many years. We have had 23 mm so far and there may be a little yet to come.

Here on the flatlands we take the rain as it comes. God sends the rain on the just and the unjust. Sometimes we all have too much, sometimes not enough. People from elsewhere, and we have lived in many other places, may think this a harsh and barren land. Yet it is bursting with life, plant life, bird life, wildlife and human life.

On a different note, my wife and I began hearing the distant thunder of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia a few years ago. As time passed it became louder and louder. Chris began taking chemotherapy treatments a few months ago and two days ago the oncologist told us that she is now basically cancer free. The drugs have beaten the disease into remission.

Nevertheless, they want to continue the chemotherapy for three more rounds. The doctor explained it to us this way. If one in ten thousand of her white cells is a leukemia cell she will be well for a year or so. If they continue the treatments and knock that down to one cancer cell in a million she should have five or more years of good health.

Chris still has those remaining treatments to face, but she is feeling more energetic already and the threatening thunder of CLL has faded into the distance. You can read her side of the story here:  The ups and downs of life

There’s a twittering in the trees

The snow is gone, lawns are starting to turn green, but the trees still appear brown and lifeless. Yet there is definitely life among the trees. From the open window we can hear are loud and continuous chorus of bird songs.

There are robins, meadowlarks, blackbirds, juncos and others that we haven’t identified. The juncos will move on soon and their place will be taken by brown thrashers, goldfinches, yellow warblers, orioles, wrens and others. My wife saw the first swallows this morning.

The ravens have moved farther north and crows have taken their place. Soon we will be seeing eagles, both golden and bald eagles nest in this area, the golden eagles are seen more often. They are awesome birds with their huge wingspread, often seeming to hang gracefully in one place, with no visible movement of their wings.

We have been seeing snow geese and Canada geese for awhile and today as we drove to the town of Outlook and back home, my wife saw swans. Soon the sandhill cranes will be back. Most of these birds nest farther north and are only spring and fall visitors around here, but many varieties of ducks nest on the sloughs and ponds around us, as well as many kinds of shore birds.

In the evenings we hear the frog chorus. Three kinds of frogs are native to this area and together they can make a lot of racket. There are also three kinds of toads and perhaps they add something to the chorus, though it gets hard to differentiate all the sounds.

When I was young, I knew where to look for the first flowers of spring. The crocus blooms before the leaves grow.  When we lived in Ontario, I knew where to find the trillium. I don’t think I’m within walking distance of crocus flowers where we now live, yet I see evidence of life bursting forth all around me. Even the trees that seem lifeless, when I look more closely I see the swelling buds.

Soon farmers and gardeners will be dropping dry and seemingly lifeless seeds into the soil and those seeds will abundant growth both below ground and above ground. We know that is going to happen, so we sow the seed and we are not disappointed. The farmer and the gardener do not make those seeds grow, they simply plant them with confidence that those seeds have life within themselves that when placed in contact with the soil they will spring up into healthy plants and produce a harvest.

We have been given another kind of seed, the Word of God that produces growth springing up unto eternal life. Are we sowing it?

%d bloggers like this: