Why Change Feels So Hard | Part Two
I felt like I was becoming a slave to the land. But I held onto the thought that this land had to be kept from blowing. Often I was so full of dust I drove blind, unable to see even the radiator cap on my tractor or hear the roar of the engines, but I kept driving on and on by guess and instinct..
- Dust Bowl Farmer
My Grandpa Skaggs talked often of the dustbowl, having lived through it as a young boy, and at the time the story felt so strange to me, sounding more like a tragic fairytale then history. He told me about the famines, the children that died of starvation, of having to find work outside of Oklahoma, and ultimately of being a teen who had to provide food for his family.
The late 1920s and 30s found parts of the United States in what looked like a perpetual desert, covered in sand and dust, and ravaged by famine and empty farms. Many scientists have tried to explain what we call the "dust bowl" but the predominant theory is that too many farmers were poorly using their land. Crop and land rotation had been principles of farming since Ancient Egypt and over the years farmers found crops that naturally helped yield more of the other. For instance, if you rotate soybeans with corn, it actually will yield a greater corn harvest the next season, but with industrial farming just beginning and farmers feeling pressure to ignore long held traditions, death was imminent.
As I said in part I of this blog series, change is a fact of life on Earth. We live in a natural cycle of births and deaths, beginnings and endings, and that's why change is so difficult. Even good change.
Because every change is the byproduct of a death.
As we grow from childhood to the teen years, and from teens to adults, there are seasons and things that must die in order for us to move forward. In each season, from singleness to marriage, from marriage to family, from family to empty nesters and grandchildren, there is a letting go of the former season and a loss of things we loved.
John Eldredge explained this sentiment in his book, All Things New, as he watched his youngest go off to college..... "is all life nothing but loss?"
And isn't it though?
It's morbid to think about but life outside of Eden constantly requires us to let go, even of good things, to step into new seasons.
Death is a fact of life here and because the Kingdom of God is still to come (and is coming even now), we must live by the laws of a world that's not fully restored, or risk becoming walking dust bowls ourselves--aimlessly wandering as we are choked by the ashes of dying things we refuse to part with.
It's a cautionary tale, but one that I think is important, because while change is hard, to stubbornly stay in a season of sameness means to risk the dust of dead things.
Are you feeling stuck or aimless? If you cannot see your tractor, or hear the engines roar anymore, you may want to look around you and ask yourself the same thing the farmer that's quoted above did. Are you a slave to a dying land?