I have spent several weeks on vacation and it has been great. I have been able to reconnect with my kids and my wife and have recovered a lot of my sanity. I like to take time and think about where I have been, what I have done, read, seen, and who I have become every now and then. These last few years have been pretty rough and I haven’t really been in a position to spend a lot of time thinking. Thankfully I was able to do that during this vacation too.
Funny enough… my heart seems to be drawn to farming. I’ve kicked that idea around before, but really just as a daydream, kill some time, “wouldn’t it be fun if…” kind of thoughts. I readily recognize that those thoughts are very romanticized and not an accurate depiction of what that life would look like.
I want to share my current thoughts with y’all.
Talents and Gifts
I think that I am a charismatic person, communicate well, establish healthy team cultures, teach well, and lead well. I really enjoy meeting with people and talking about life. I enjoy sharing my life with people and encouraging them through hard times or helping them put the broken pieces of their hearts back together. The vision of my life is that I will live to see the broken hearts bound up, the wounded healed, and the captives set free. I have poured my heart and soul into this vision and have seen some really cool things in the lives of other people. Jessica and I have seen infidelity in marriages be replaced with tenderness and genuine love between husband and wife. We have seen men who were abused as kids, harboring anger and ill will towards their abusers, gain the ability to forgive their abusers, let go of their bitterness, find healing, and develop healthy relationships with those around them. Jesus has brought me into people’s lives and given me the gifts needed to see so many people helped.
I am concerned that, should I actually start farming, I will no longer be able to invest these gifts as I would like. All of those things involved people. Lots of time with people. I wonder how much time I will actually have with people if we end up moving to a farm after retirement. I don’t know if I am ready to let go of what I thought the future investments of my life would look like.
Leisure and Adventure
I really love being deep in the wilderness. By far my favorite hobby is hunting. Not from a tree stand over a food plot, but after getting deep into the mountains and glassing hillsides and valleys. I have always pictured my future being one in which we live a suburban life, almost constant contact with people, with relatively long breaks of wilderness time for me. Camping trips with the family for a week at a time, road trips across a state or 2 to go hunting and fishing with a couple of guys, drive half way across the country to canoe or kayak some epic river.
I am concerned that with a farm, I will not be able to have these adventures. The farm work must go on. I know this is probably not that big of a deal, but in my head, the planner that I am, it is a concern on the list. Who will watch the farm, milk the cows, feed the chickens and hogs, while I am out gallivanting around the wilderness? How will I afford these trips? It isn’t a secret… Farming is not a great money making enterprise! The kind of farming I am thinking about… even less so. I don’t know if I am read to give up what my future adventures would look like.
Family and Friends
The lines between family and friends for Team Hitefield have been blurred for Jessica and I so many times. I have driven myself to the edge of tears while contemplating where we will live. I have no “roots”. I was born in one place, raised across several states, crossed the major milestones of my development and honed my identity literally around the world. Those who hold the strings which weave the very fabric of my being are stretched from California to Washington, from Maine to Florida. How can I possibly commit to owning a piece of land and a group of structures that will keep me permanently tied to a single spot. Simultaneously basking in the warmth of deepening relationships with those who are near us while being parched by the distance from those far away. Having grown accustomed to moving and making epic cross country road trips every couple years, I don’t know if I am ready to give up the relationships which have been placed on hold.
Farming, as Jessica and I think about it, is so vastly different from anything we have ever thought about or planned before. Living in town, working as a counselor, leading small groups and teams of volunteers in the community, and drifting from place to place was a comforting blanket for me. The idea of picking a spot on the ground, raising a house, and plunging my roots feels cold.
… and is maddeningly exciting.
We may not do this at all. But it is very much a stir in my heart at the moment.
I will write again in a few days and post the ideas that Jessica and I have about the farm itself. We have already gotten the question, “What kind of farm” and “What will you be farming” several times. This next post will explain all of that.