Today over this way the winds are blowing fierce. They let us know the seasons are blowing and changing with them. Dust storms herald the coming rains. And in the middle of the swirl I stop and remember. How to till ground and what I learned when I was among the Dinka tribe last year. Tall and fierce, warm and welcoming all at once, these beautiful people have weathered many winds and storms. Today I paused to paint and pray and remember.
Last year we drive non-existent roads through the back country of Dinka land. The largest round mud house always reserved to guard their wealth in cattle. I watch little boys and their papas, weathered mamas and young girls all bend low to the grainy land, loam and sand mixed well through. The grass does not grow tall and fierce like where I live in Yei. Wide open lands stretches long to meet the sky here.
These tall, regal, warrior people bend low and till the ground on their knees. Somehow I am in awe of that. One generation teaches another the way to plant a harvest is low on their knees.
They plant seed with a spear tip and dig deep kneeling on the ground. And their land yields its harvest. Isn’t the battle in us always over His seed? Maybe we should plant with spear tips too? Maybe we should turn our fighting weapons into tools of making ground ready to receive something that lasts beyond ourselves.
How else is a harvest sown but low and deep one seed at a time? I must learn a path lower still. How else to plant a harvest but by bending low? How else to see heaven touch earth but by my placing dusty knees to the ground and planting whispered prayers hidden in the unseen depths of sand and loam and clay? Earth tilling earth that heaven might bring forth eternal fruit in me and around me.
And at home my little ones bow low on our soil, faces to the grey brown dirt every evening planting their seeds for harvests to come. I stand in awe of Him and them all that finds strength and grace in the bending, in the bowing, in the breaking.
We stand the tallest when we bend the lowest.