Great Loss and Small Gain

Scott has been selling hay to Brian, a beef farmer out by Seneca for years and years. It takes nine trips for Brian to haul all the hay to their farm, which is about 45 minutes away from us. It’s a several day process, Brian has a lot of mouths to feed!

Sadly, I’ve never actually met Brian, it has just never seemed to work out for me to be out at the farm at the same time he is, but this past round, with the quarantine, I was home and outside with the kids, so I got to meet Brian and his wife Lisa, who just happened to be along for a semi-date since of course she’s out of school. I have come around to the fact that sometimes, yes, a ride in the semi is about as close as you’re going to get to an actual date during the busy seasons. #farmlife 

While the guys were tying everything down, Lisa and I had one of those nice, flowy conversations. For an introvert like me, that’s saying something! Just about this and that, nothing earth shattering, mostly about school and topics related to the virus. Well, Malcolm (my father-in-law) is not one to sit in the house, neither is Scott, I think it gives them hives or similar, so they decided help haul hay out to the cattle farm. Usually they just load Brian up and send him on his way. But this day we loaded up the trailer (by we, I mean Scott, I helpfully watched. People like me are so irritating!) and set out.

We arrived at the cattle farm and Lisa offered to take me out to see the house that they just built and moved into in November. It’s already waaay more put together than mine, haha. Then out of the blue, Lisa asked if I’d like to see their church, and oh my gosh! Jaw-dropping beauty! 

That’s what I love about small towns, there is beauty to be found everywhere. I wish I had counted all the statues in this lovely church. The soaring architecture. The windows. The paintings. I had never expected to find something so lovely in little Seneca, Kansas. It literally took my breath away.

And then, on the way back to meet up with the guys, Lisa and I had one of those “kindred spirit” sort of conversations. We talked frankly about church and how the things that resonate with us aren’t necessarily the popular ways to worship now. The declining numbers we see. It’s disheartening. But it was refreshing to be able to actually talk to someone frankly about something as personal as church.

All this to say, it’s not often you meet a kindred spirit, period. And even more rare during a quarantine/crisis situation. It reminded me a little of when Ma Ingalls in On the Banks of Plum Creek says “There’s no great loss without some small gain.” (PS I relate everything back to this series, Liesl and I are addicts!) She said this after grasshoppers destroyed their wheat crop they had been counting on all year. Things were normal, until all of a sudden, they weren’t. Their prairie was crawling with a plague of grasshoppers for as far as the eye could see. They were in their skirts, their hair, getting in the house, everywhere. But Ingalls’ chickens were running around, happily gobbling up grasshoppers as fast as they could.  I don’t know how she did it, but Ma chose to look for the good in that moment. Their livelihood was gone, but at least they didn’t have to think about feed for the chickens. 

 I never would have met Lisa had it not been for the quarantine. And we had some deep, soulful things in common, which is extraordinary! So…I think we’ve got to try and look for small gains in this time of great loss. I know it’s hard to see, and I’m frightened and fretting too, but if we look, maybe we’ll find we’ve gained at least a little something after all? 



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