Looking out of the backdoor, I can see that the September sun is making heat distortion that makes my view of the church look a little wavy.  A slight breeze ripples through the yellowing stalks of a quickly drying field of soybeans. Soon the combines will be stirring up dust in that field, bringing in the harvest for another year.

Saturday, Penny and I went to Stuttgart via St. Charles and State Highway 153, where farmers were busily cutting corn and rice. Tractors pulling grain hoppers were hurriedly shuttling newly harvested products to waiting grain trucks anticipating the next load to the grain bin.

In one of the fields, we passed a young mother astride a large four-wheeler, a toddler in front of her on the seat. She was beaming from ear to ear, waving cheerily as we passed. It struck me that she was the wife of one of those combine operators. What a joy it must be to see that crop coming in and knowing that nature had paid a return on all of this summer’s hard work and patience.

We also passed some rice fields where large swaths of grain lay flattened in the field, probably the results of hurricane Laura. The reduction in yield might mean an economic setback for those rice producers. It may be that some of those wives and families may feel the pinch of that lost acreage. My heart goes out to them.

Approaching Stuttgart (Samantha had never been there before), I pointed out the “skyscrapers” of Stuttgart, the massive Riceland Grain Storage Complex. The facility dominates the skyline and bolsters the city’s claim to fame of being the “rice and duck capital of the world.” Arkansas producers account for around one-half of all the rice in the US.

The reason for our going to Stuttgart was to purchase a shelving unit for the utility room at the parsonage. Penny needs storage for her off-season decorations and clothing. Sutherland’s had a great deal on a heavy-duty, all-steel industrial unit. The manufacturer touted the unit to hold 1500# per shelf, so with four shelves adds up to a total of 6000#. Who needs a shelving unit that will hold 6000#?

I have been promising to build Penny some shelves for over a year. Donovan and I shifted the contents of the room to clear a place for the unit, relocating portions into the shed and stacking some items in the carport. It was surprising how much stuff was in there that just needed to go into the trash.

As often happens with assemble-yourself flat-packs, there were not enough fasteners included. A trip to Walmart armed me with the necessary hardware, and I was at it early this morning before the heat of the day. Penny is ecstatic! Now we plan to empty the storage unit at Discount Ag. We made a pact to go through every tote and assess both the quantity and quality of the contents.

Sometimes our stuff can become a burden, sometimes the bad is mixed in with the good, and the best course of action is to let it go. Unfortunately, letting go is difficult. It is much easier to ignore the fact that we hold on to too many things. When we moved from Paragould, we moved some totes that had not seen the light of day since the previous move.

Facing loss is an inevitable part of the human experience. Unexpected circumstances arise and catch us off-guard. For a time, we are stunned, but then usually we recover our equilibrium and soldier onward. Human beings possess the ability to assess, adapt, and advance the cause. The trick is to travel light. What are you dragging around that you could live without? Take the time to assess your life and maybe choose to lighten the load a bit. Remember, we are just passing through on our way to a better, brighter place. 

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9                                                                                                                                        Pastor Kenny