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Across the fence: Always trending: Forgiveness and love

Published on 22 February 2019

We have teens in the house, so we are often hearing about common trends or funny memes. Super Puncher, anyone?

In America, something is always trending. Clothing, music, books … it’s a never-ending cycle. Sometimes we think this isn’t as true in agriculture; I mean check out the clothing trends in men’s Western wear:

  • 1980: Wrangler jeans and a pearl-snap shirt
  • 1990: Button-down shirt and Wrangler jeans.
  • 2000: Wrangler jeans and a button-down shirt

You get the idea …

Joking aside, agriculture does have significant trends. Some of which arise due to those with opinions different from ours: sage grouse and grazing, logging and habitats, and predator control issues, to name a few. There’s a new one expected to gain momentum and attention in 2019: fake meat.

I’m not kidding.

Experiments have produced meat for consumption in a lab setting.

To date, it has not yet approved by the FDA. But it is something producers will need to be aware of, even if we don’t agree with it.

Isn’t it ironic how the things that could shut us down also have the potential to raise us up? I mean, if we are pessimistic, we could think: “What is the point of continuing in agriculture when the odds seem stacked against us?” On the flip side, it’s the challenges that often bring about sustainable and profitable change – things that make the industry better.

Recently, my hubby and I have been talking about diversifying our ranch. We’ve discussed options with heifer retention and bulls for terminal sire or herd growth. When we discuss these things, we take note of current trends, but we also consider them in light of long-term growth.

We also joke about starting our own trends like monkey farms or underwater basket weaving classes. Maybe cow cuddling will really catch on, and we’ll all have a second stream of income.

There are two topics, though, that have been trending for millennia: forgiveness and love.

Valentine’s Day has passed, but I’m still feeling sentimental.

I’m also feeling thankful.
You see, I’m not perfect.
And neither are my children.
Nor is my husband …

Despite what impression our Christmas card or Facebook posts might have given.

Once, when we were young and immature (OK, two years ago) we entered into a land deal that went very south. We did our best to honor the agreement, but it didn’t end well.

It cost us a lot.

Beyond the financial burden, because of a year of constant stress, tempers and attitudes weren’t ideal. We had multiple other life stressors in addition. Things not only didn’t go as planned but leapt to a nightmarish state pretty fast.

We tried really hard to be kind. Yet, worse than tempers in a branding pen, our family stood on pins and needles. It was exhausting.

But then something happened.

We prayed.

Not a blanket prayer or a casual grace-before-a-meal prayer, although those prayers are good.

We really sought what God wanted us to know about the situation. And you know what He said?

Forgive.

Forgive the person about the land deal gone south. Forgive past hurts from family members. Forgive tempers from each other. Forgive poor listening attitudes. Forgive words said.

We went through and dug up past wounds and let them bleed all over again. Then we forgave. It doesn’t happen overnight. We don’t always feel like forgiving – it is usually a choice. Once the choice is made, often, but not always, the emotions follow.

Life is a sobering journey. None of us make it unscathed. Many of us have hurts from our past that still affect the way we think and the decisions we make.

And you know who the hardest people to forgive are?

Ourselves.

Maybe you recognize the internal dialogue.

“I should’ve known better.”
“I should’ve done this differently.”
“I should have …”
Enter forgiveness.

It’s a beautiful thing. Forgiveness brings freedom for us and others. Holding on to offenses doesn’t make us better; it makes us bitter. Maybe you know the saying: Holding on to bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

Forgiveness makes room in the heart for what we all are desperate for anyway: love. We love our family, our God, our cattle. Yet even those who oppose us – yes, those who advocate for fake meat – need it.

We don’t have to drop our ideals to do this; we simply recognize others as human beings. Granted, this is difficult when they are defending vegetable rights, but the advancement agriculture needs to have on the war against production will likely happen with strategies originating from hope and creativity, not resentment.

It isn’t easy. We don’t always want to do it. But forgiveness changes things for the better.

Plus, forgiveness and love never stop trending.

Well, that and Wranglers. end mark

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