96 / 365 – Ambition

JODI NILSSON

From the time she was young I knew she was never right for the farm. It wouldn’t hold her. She wanted to follow her father everywhere. She wanted to do all the men’s work. During planting season she wanted to follow her father out. I couldn’t get her to stay and do her own chores some days. Her father indulged that, let her come out with him. That was part of the problem. You look and you see what’s happened, to her, to what was our family, our marriage, and you can see it was starting right there. I didn’t see it. I just knew the she said she wanted to be a farmer when she grew up but on a Saturday during planting season you couldn’t get her to do any of her farm work. She just wanted to walk beside her father’s tractor as he sowed the field. The planters and combines then weren’t like now, where they have these big cabs with glass all around and they’re full of computers. I’ve heard people can take their kids in those. Practically sit in them and watch TV.

When she came and told us, and I refused to accept it, when I said it was not acceptable in my house … Someone from the old church, I won’t say who, said, “Things change.” Well, they do, yes. A lot has changed since I was young, and it’s obvious to a lot of people that this isn’t right. This life is a very blessed one, but it doesn’t go well with ambition, that kind of ambition that wants too much, that wants everything now even though you haven’t earned it. That even wants things that you know are not right but you want them anyway because they seem like they will feel good. Last summer we were driving to Grand Forks and there was a billboard that was for new houses, I think, and it said, “Have it all.” No, you cannot have it all. Some things you cannot have because you will never earn them. Some things because they are wrong. This way that people think now, it can destroy us. Sometimes it’s maddening that people don’t see this.

The farm takes a whole family. Everyone has their part. You have to be happy with your part, with what is enough.I’ve seen it now, a few times. People want too much, they spend too much, and then things are hard for awhile or the Lord doesn’t send so much rain one year or there’s a late freeze. Or the prices are low. People go from being proud and successful to ruined. Gone.

And do you know what? These ups and downs out here are just practice for the big show. People feel like they get blown over in the wind. The Lord is going to come through here, very soon, and blow all of this away. These trials and painful decisions are just like lessons, a chance to practice. But are we learning anything from it? No, we never do. We are fallen people. We don’t even know. But it’s sad. You look around, you see people going crazy to have everything, spending money they don’t have, showing off in their big cars. Always thinking about what they want. Some of them are people you love. And they’re all going to get swept away.

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