Photo: 2010 -Papa’s Farm in Poplar Bluff, Missouri
When you hear the term “field of dreams”, this may not be what you’re mind is picturing. You’re probably wondering, “Hey, where is Ray Kinsella?” But for those who own and farm the land- this is their field of dreams. Or at least their livelihood. I have come to really respect long generations of family businesses/practices/trades. I spoke to a restaurant owner the other day and he told me the business had been in the family for over 40 years. To me, that’s impressive. Especially these days. I think we are finally getting back to a point where local business is meaning something to us, but we’re still driven ultimately by convenience and price. There is an old tavern/restaurant down off Highway 50 in O’Fallon that closed its doors after roughly 40 years. I was sad to see that sign read “thanks for a great 40 years”. I think we can all agree that it’s sad to see something successful come to an end. Do you have a store, or restaurant you visited in your childhood that you would long to see again? I’m pretty sure Natural Wonders was the coolest place on earth. (I digress). As much as we hate to see businesses close their doors, (and I REALLY do), what about life legacies?
We were at a luncheon to celebrate the life of my husband’s Uncle who passed last year. His sweet wife printed photos out for us, Bruhn’s that went way, way, back into the family ancestry. The couple was from Germany, and settled somewhere in or near Alton, Illinois. Hearing about his desire to work and provide for his family was very inspiring. I could also see that same determination that lies within my husband, and his father, brother, etc. They are workers, they work hard. We went home with that photo and our son Brooks became quite fond of it. It was black and white and from the late 1800’s- early 1900’s. Their faces were stern, their eyes- serious. Life back then, was void of so many of today’s comforts. Life was hard. And life DEPENDED upon their good merit, and skill. As Brooks positioned the photo next to his plate as he ate the next few meals- I had to laugh, but also felt very proud. (He’s our little “old soul”). I wondered what this man in the photo would think of the legacy he helped build with his two hands. The actual village of people that they brought together. And I wondered- how am I honoring that legacy? I think of people in society these days who act as though legacies don’t really matter. We’ve gotten so “in the moment” that we build our lives as though it should be enough to sustain us for OUR lives. When we stop building, working, TRYING- we’re essentially blocking future legacies. When someone harms your family name or breaks off from the family – are there not future consequences that will be experienced? (Rhetorical question- but my personal answer is YES).
As our children get older, (sniff, sniff), I cannot help but think about what my part will be in helping to build the legacy that my husband and I want for them. What contributions to the world will we be giving? What teachings and skills are being instilled? These do not appear to be questions at the forefront of the majority’s mind. Too many people are worried about the in moment, trendy child rearing moments that in a few years time just won’t matter beyond a memory. How would our lives look if we did things more intentionally? What if we felt a purpose, and did something intentionally every single day? What if we did our very best part to enhance legacies, and what if we built something to be proud of. What if we didn’t toss people aside like they don’t matter? What would it look like for you? Would you publish a book? Would you mentor children in need, train the undereducated, become an advocate for the mentally incapacitated? What is the legacy we will leave? All have a field to tend, and its harvest will indeed reflect the work we have or have not done.