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Much has been written about the biblical principles of sowing and reaping. My understanding of that came from growing up on a farm and seeing how carefully my dad handled the stewardship of the land throughout his lifetime until his death at 84. The winter months were spent planning the crops for spring planting and the rotation of them that would protect the soil. He would also be planning the large garden in a similar fashion as well. By spring the sowing would begin and I recall well his time in the fields doing that. There was also the watchful eye over nutrients and weather that played a significant role in what he would reap. It would be the late summer and early fall when the reaping would begin in both the garden and fields, one crop after another in the season for each.
I so appreciate the images and understandings of sowing and reaping from living this cycle throughout my childhood and adolescence. They remind me of how applicable they are to how we still sow and reap if we are blessed to enter our seventh decade of life. Some may believe that decade that usually includes retirement is a time to relax on the golf course and indulge ourselves in all the things our careers did not allow for. A careful reading of scripture shows something different including how productive some of the greatest heroes in the Bible were well into this decade and beyond.
We may not be as fast as we once were and find we need more time to replenish our energy, but if we are spared any major illnesses or chronic diseases there are many opportunities available to continue sowing into the legacy we will leave for those who come after us. Doing so will also ensure we stay healthier longer even if we are not doing as much as we did in our 50’s or 60’s.
Photo of my mother at 72
The photo above is my mother, 72, dancing with our son (her only grandson) at his wedding even though she had never danced before. She was in the game until much later in her seventh decade of life. She was still on a prayer chain at the church she had been a part of for nearly all of her life, offering to make meals for someone in grief or recovering from surgery, and using creativity in numerous other areas of her life. These were things that had been within her all along but now they began to flower and bloom in ways that working and raising a family had not allowed.
“We no longer have to wear the old roles that so defined us for so many years. We can be funny and silly and irresponsible for a change. We can buy new things without asking someone for permission to get them. We can even begin to think differently now. And we do!”Joan Chittister
The healthiest senior citizens I know are not tired because they are not engaged but because they are fully engaged not simply waiting to die. For me, that was the door that opened to pursue writing which had been a lifelong passion and I had done briefly in other seasons. It was discovering creativity mixed with life experiences and a bit of wisdom tossed in when I began the website. A new way of sowing had begun and I felt more alive than ever.
“The purpose of a job is to make a living, not to make a life. Making a life is something we’re meant to do beyond the role. This is the part of life in which we work at succeeding at all other dimensions of what it means to be alive.”Joan Chittister
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A website and writing on it exposed me to people who had never met me and likely never would. What did I want to share with them? How personal should I risk being?
At the writers’ boot camp I heard a lot about finding my voice in writing but I was unsure of what that looked like. Words and phrasing of other authors were appealing to me but they were not my voice. That would take me a while to discover and longer than that to risk developing. Would anyone read what I wrote? Would it have any meaning or encouragement for them? Other experienced bloggers had many hundreds of followers and I had less than 20 at the outset.
It was then in one of my times of devotion that I sensed the Lord reminding me that what He led me to write and publish on any given day might be for only one person. I was not to look at the numbers (tempting as that might be) or compare myself with anyone else. I wasn’t writing this to achieve fame and no money was involved except what I expended. I was aware I was writing because what had been simmering in me for many years could not be ignored, the passion to write was flaming and I needed to take the risk. I had no idea how often each week or month I would do it or for how many years, only that something had been birthed in me and I needed to be about doing it.
Too many stop sowing in the last decades of their lives, never risk living the life that brought new life from within. Each of our stories matter and how it is reborn or born afresh in the last decades of our life on earth is not to be missed or avoided out of fear. Too many times earlier in our lives we gave in to fear and missed out on joy. That is not what the Lord has for us in this season of both sowing and reaping.
But once the website was launched, what then? How would the Lord lead and what else would I discover as I began to step toward 80?
Photo by Pam Ecrement