Growing up, getting to church every Sunday was a struggle. We liked to go on Saturday nights before chores when we could, but if our schedule didn’t allow, a Sunday morning ‘rush hour’ happened.
There were some Sunday mornings that made it almost seem like God didn’t want us to make it to church. Either a cow would have some difficulty with a calf, a tractor would break or the heifers got out. Most of the time, no matter the obstacle in front of us, we made it to our front-row church pew 10 minutes late. Let it be known that we didn’t favor that pew; it was just usually the only one left.
Our pastor’s wife was always in awe that we signed up to help with vacation bible school. While we were barely on time and always was last minute with craft supply shopping they invited us back every year with open arms. We knew it was important to make time for church activities.
Growing up we had a pastor who understood the struggles of farming and would sometimes ask while shaking our hands on the way out of church, “So what happened this morning?” We were notorious for having wet hair and wrinkled clothes, but I knew our pastor didn’t care as long as we did our best to make it there. While he wanted us at church every week, he knew that the important thing was that we had God’s ear at least once a week. It didn’t matter where we were when it happened.
Farmers, no matter their religion, tend to have a relationship with the big guy up above. I mean, how else do you get through a drought, your barn dog’s death or low milk or crop prices? It’s these tough days that you need someone to talk to besides your family and friends who are living it too.
It was usually a hay bale or a truck tailgate for me. Sometimes I even found a minute to sit in the corner of the hay mow just to think, daydream and pray. The hay mow was one of my favorites because rays of light would shine between barn boards making it seem like a heavenly place all by itself.
I think it’s safe to assume that all farmers have a sacred spot for thinking and praying, they just don’t openly talk about it. When we raised fair pigs we would usually catch my dad sitting out by their pen. He wasn’t feeding them or playing with them but rather just watching them. I think this was his ‘thinking’ time.
As Easter Sunday approaches some families will be taking time for an Easter morning breakfast, an extended worship service and maybe even an Easter egg hunt. My family will most likely be at least 10 minutes late to the Easter service with wet hair and wrinkled pants but we will be there.
Whether you use a church pew or hay bale as a place of reflection, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you take time to do so.
Amy Eckelberg was raised on her family’s dairy farm near New London in Waupaca County. As an active member of the Sandy Knoll 4-H club, Eckelberg grew up showing hogs and dairy animals at the Waupaca County Fair and was a New London FFA member. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication. Amy is the Director of Communications for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau and resides in DeForest with her husband, Jonathan.