Gratitude Friday: The View from a Tractor…

Not sure how you handle overwhelming days, but I self-soothe with HGTV.

Yesterday, I came home after some Christmas shopping, wet from running to my car in the rain, popped a bag of genetically modified microwave popcorn coated in some butter-tasting chemicals no one can actually pronounce and should absolutely be banned by the FDA, and then sat down to watch, We Bought The Farm, a lovely show about families with half a million dollars to burn and a need to ride around on tractors as a stress reliever.

She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy not being used as the show’s theme song is a gross misstep by the marketing department over at HGTV.

Someone call Kenny ASAP.

This entire thing, watching tractors and farms and hearing ten-year-old country songs in my head, felt incredibly appropriate since I had just purchased my first EVER camo anything while out shopping.

My son requested a camo jacket for Christmas and while I’d love to tell you I sat him down to explain in great detail how very much I do not like camo and that maybe we should leave that for the hunters of the world, I didn’t. It’s not the hill I want to die on.

So come Christmas morning, my son will find his camo jacket (and the tee shirt that came with it which reads REBEL) (I CANNOT with that) next to the fireplace, right where Santa will leave it.

And no, I do not know where he got the idea for a camo jacket. Maybe one of his kinder friends at school has one. Maybe his bestie does. His dad’s a hunter so maybe I can blame thank him.

Regardless, it’s done.


Honestly, the entire week felt like we all needed to find some form of stress relief. Perhaps something other than posting incredibly questionable memes on social media.

(SIDENOTE: A few weeks ago, my pastor said, “You know where our church’s website is? It’s YOUR social media postings.” And that stung. Truth always does.)

(Kinda reminds me of parents saying, Remember who you are and Whose you are.)

As I watched the newly minted tech-executive-turned-farm-owner ride around on hundreds of acres of deep green grass, I sighed. Longing to escape.

When I saw the Thousand Oaks tragedy, I cried. Then I quickly googled it to see how close my friend was to it. Less than an hour away. Some of the victims faced this a little over a year ago in Vegas and unbelievably, lightning has struck them twice.  I can’t imagine the pain but unfortunately, too many other cities and communities and families completely understand that exact pain.

Friend, I know we are all heart-broken for the people of our country.

We’ve been in 1 Samuel these last two weeks in my bible study. I feel like I know Hannah and her story backward and forwards but still, there’s always something more to learn. This week, I saw my own handwriting next to 1 Samuel 1:10.

“In bitterness of soul, Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord.”

My note was the KJV of the verse, “And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept sore.” (emphasis mine)

I wish I’d written the date next to my note. That would be a good marker stone for exactly when I clung to that verse. My initial thought would be I wrote it sometime during those dark days of infertility but I confess, that version of myself would never have looked up another translation of the scripture. What I suspect, I wrote it during a time of prayer for someone else.

A day when a friend, worn slap-out from crying until it hurt, needed a to know she wasn’t alone.

I expect the days ahead in Thousand Oaks will be overrun with families and friends crying until they are sore. We may not know exactly what it feels like to be a victim of gun violence, we all absolutely understand weeping until our mind, soul, and body are painfully exhausted.

If you think I have an answer or a five-step plan or even a legislative recommendation, you’re so very wrong.

But maybe the tractor driver on the farm has the right idea. Riding around slowly on land as far as you can see might just be the stuff of dreams and mental health cures.

A friend said this week, “Isn’t it beautiful that we are small?”

And that has been my own tractor for me in the middle of hundreds of acres of green grass. I’ve been riding it, holding on to it, meditating on our smallness next to our God’s bigness.

None of us has a solution but I do know living rooted in Christ, finding the moments for which we can be grateful, offering our thankfulness as humble offerings to our very big God, well, it helps.

I offer gratitude for the rain.

Grateful for my miracle little man and that I get to buy him things like jackets, even if I don’t agree with his six-year-old fashion choices.

Thankful I can pull out my hand-held computer to check on my friend.

Humbled by my full pantry and refrigerator (and sorry I opted for the junk instead of something healthy).

Grateful for our sweet, tractor-free, HGTV-filled, suburban life where God allows us to serve and love and mourn with the people He gives us.

Gratitude does not take away days of weeping sore, but it does turn the heart back towards the bigness of our God. Reminding us we are small, slow-tractor driving souls in the middle of God’s thousands of acres of rolling green grass.

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