The tears came easy. As powerful still images and the commanding voice of Paul Harvey gave us a two minute foray into the life of the American farmer I froze. The ethic of hard work, endless toil and a never ending relentlessness to keep going no matter the hardship is mine. Nebraska and Illinois, that's where my grandparent's farms were. That's where my parents learned what their parents taught them and they in turn taught me. You just keep going. Life isn't glamorous, spectacular or exotic. Fancy cars, big houses and expensive vacations don't matter. There is God, family and soil. That is what matters. That is all that matters. There is doing what is right, fair and just. Sticking around to deal with the problems one inadvertently creates. Seeing it through, no matter how tough or sticky or ugly or sad. And quite simply doing what one is supposed to do. That matters.
That ethic has both harmed me and helped me, equally so. When I got sick I didn't have the time to be sick. I didn't have the luxury. So I pushed myself forward like I'd always done when faced with hardship. It's just what you do. I had bills to pay and a life to live. A husband whose life went down in flames if mine did. A boss who wouldn't keep paying me if I wasn't working. A family who didn't understand the choices I was making along the way. Fibro does this strange up and down thing, so for a few days I would be okay. Then suddenly I couldn't get out of bed, but nobody knew why. Once I was able to return to my duties I ignored the mounting problem separating me from my life because I had no clue how to tackle it. But soon enough I was knocked on my ass again. We did this, my work ethic, illness and I, for the better part of a year before there simply stopped being the days I could get out of bed and live my life. I wanted to die. My work ethic had not served me well.
But the benefit of my genealogy wasn't all bad. Because there eventually came a day when my mind accepted what my body was experiencing and I set out to figure out how to get better. Would I have gotten here without the evolutionary advantage of my ancestors fighting for their own survival every step of the way? If those before me weren't someone who plowed deep and straight and not cut corners? What if my mama wasn't a little girl who had to tromp through the January snow to the outhouse to pee in the middle of the night? Or if my daddy took off when the going got tough like so many daddys do? As I watched the Super Bowl commercial in awe, a powerful homage to those so seldom touted, I sent a prayer to heaven. Thanking God for my life, and those countless souls which came before me that made me who I am today.
Thanks for joining,