When all you seem to do is work, work, work… there comes a time when you just crave for a breather. A time to sit and reflect… to just appreciate your life and the wonderful people around you. With drought smothering us on the farm and that natural ability to thrive seems to diminish somewhat… alas… there is someone reaching out to you.
They are special compassionate people, friends or strangers, extending an arm to you, listening, thankfully distracting you from an overload of work tasks and allowing you into their own world of thoughts. It is then, that you truly appreciate the kindness and generosity in these extraordinary people.
That day was only yesterday for me. A friend that was once a stranger, and her family lifted our spirits… unbeknown to them… and what a powerful effect their presence had created. A family that moved to Tamworth from the Central Coast about 2 years ago, starting a new life in this beautiful northern region. I met this quiet woman a year ago through CWA meetings and our friendship developed. Interestingly, two women from two completely different backgrounds, from city and country, can form a connection and feel comfortable in discussions. Our husbands then met, both leading different work lives, yet conversation seemed so engaging and relaxed.
Yesterday, I was feeling a little overwhelmed, as tiredness took hold of me and I struggled to fully function in work mode. As farmers know, we do not have the luxury of work times… our work finishes when the job is done. We work 7 days a week and with drought now, those hours are extended with earlier starts and working until dark. We all pray for relief soon, rain to break this horrid drought.
So with work committments piling up and office jobs completed in priority order, I was feeling mentally exhausted. It was then that I receive a little message from my thoughtful friend, suggesting her family come for a visit. Honestly, my first reaction in my own mind was… I don’t really have time to socialise, I am so busy with things to get done, the house is a bit untidy, what food do I have in the fridge. Why do farmers automatically feel guilty when they stop to relax? I have no idea why, but I know now that it is more important than ever, that we do find a little time out and engage with other people.
Then, I took a breath from my anxiety… and yet it was then organised, on a spur of the moment whim. My friend, her husband and their 2 sons arrived early evening, with a few dinner supplies in hand. Her calm gentle nature somehow manages to relax me and I enjoy her normal and compelling conversation. The men all went to shift a mob of cows, giving us time to catch up and prepare dinner. The evening just worked out perfectly.
My beef roast had been cooking in the slow cooker, so we only needed to cook some vegetables to accompany the meal. I do find on the farm, my slow cooker is used a lot because I never know when I will get home, so at least we have some meat cooked for dinner to motivate me. And tonight it all worked out fine.
The men returned after moving the cows, with the hope of a storm in the hills behind them, but disappointingly it never made it’s way here. I felt relief for other farmers beyond those hills. Although we missed out, I was happy for the other farmers in the distance.
Today, I have been reflecting on the importance of friendships and allowing others to reach out to us and welcoming them into our unique world with open arms. So I am sharing this photo with you all, that was taken a year ago. It shows a track on the laneway of our property, that we use regularly when moving stock from the lower undulating hills to the valley out the back. I really like this photo for 2 reasons. The colours are enticing with cloudy blue sky above the dry landscape with a splashing of trees. And the windy track as it dips over the hill arouses the curiosity of the unknown destination within the image.
Rural Reflection #8…
Yesterday, it was this winding track that brought the men back for dinner. It made me think about not only the appreciation that we had for this visiting family in helping us, but the appreciation of the country and lifestyle that we were able to share with them. A rural industry that they are very unaccustomed to, yet keen to experience. An industry that we are passionate about… giving us the opportunity to share it with them.
Whilst the men enjoyed what the outdoors can offer, my friend and I enjoyed some open heartfelt conversation. I find it so amazing that although we are new friends, we can connect, enjoy the company and find support in one another. And our husbands in their own way, can do the same. My farmer husband with his tough exterior, deep down enjoys sharing his passion with these new friends and relishes in seeking some downtime and laughter. This visit meant so much to us, in a way that may be difficult to explain, but sincere gratitude expressed, especially at a time when farmers are so very sensitive and stressed.
Kindness does not cost anything and makes a big difference in the lives of those you touch. No act of kindness, regardless of how small… is ever wasted. Be kind to everybody that you meet, because everybody is fighting their own battles. Regardless of our differences, our background, our experiences, our stories… we are all interesting people in city and country… kindness is the key to uniting us and strengthens our soul.
Take care, Karen.
“No act of kindness is too small.
The gift of kindness may start as a small ripple
that over time can turn into a tidal wave
affecting the lives of many.”
~ Kevin Heath