I do not know anyone who does not like to eat. And, along with the physical activity of chowing down, we all have our favorite foods. During Lent, some will give up a favorite or two, as a way of sacrificing something to draw deeper into the season. A priest once encouraged me not to “give up,” but to “add” something instead – an act of charity, an extra hour or two in prayer. Something positive. Something profound.
This year, I’m going to add something to my meals. No, not an extra helping! Rather, I’m going to add an extra prayer for those whose hands helped bring the food to the table. I don’t know their names, but I know their work – and it is good. I don’t see them in the fields or behind the plows, but I know that they are making good use of their time – and I appreciate it. I cannot thank them all in person, although I would like to – so, I pray for them and their families.
With the election cycle heating up, and much of the news focused on more rural parts of the country, I have heard more than one disparaging remark about “rural people,” and especially farmers. For some reason, there are some people who think little of the those who till the land and harvest the crops. As if knowing how to farm and doing it well were not a skill requiring attention, patience, knowledge, and physical stamina (which it does). Ironically, the same people who would think less of a farmer than someone in urban areas would never want to give up eating! Oh, dear…
Adding to my prayers, I’ll also lift up those people who talk down about farmers and farming. May they have an opportunity sometime to dig in the dirt and come away more appreciative of the dedication and work of those who give us the food on our tables!
Joy and peace,