As we enter into the middle of our time here at ECHO, I feel pleasantly exhausted. I walked into this trip with few expectations and little knowledge about what life on the farm would entail, but feel overwhelmed with all that I have learned and experienced. As I let go of the worries and stresses of back home and immerse myself in the dirt and life of the earth, I am continually brought back to Genesis 3 when God tells Adam that through hard work and the sweat of his brow he will eat from the ground. I have read this chapter many times and have never quite experienced it in its true form until this week.
Outdoor work is not easy work. The weeds reappear, your hands get dirty, the sun hides behind the clouds, and the outcome can be less than ideal. While this can feel discouraging and frustrating I have been struck more with the beauty that comes from good work. After a long morning of weeding and pruning in the pouring rain, I am able to look at the plot of land and see all that was accomplished and how the toil of our hands has brought life to an overgrown garden.
Through the long and tedious research of trial and error, ECHO farmers are able to find solutions to agricultural problems in all climates and areas of the world. Through this hard work that seems mundane and tedious, we are making a small footprint in the life of someone else.
As we will soon be returning to Upland, I hope that this trip will transform my perspective of work and life around me. As I am among the trees and landscape of campus, I long to stop and take time to appreciate the work and care it takes to produce that life and the glory of God that is represented in its uniqueness and splendor. As I study, write papers, and complete assignments, I hope that I will focus on the beauty of doing work well for the glory of God instead of focusing on crossing things off my list. I hope that as I interact with the people in my life that I will be able to see how God is producing life in them, like he is on this farm and the world around us. That is my prayer, that this trip and all that it has taught me will not stay in Ft. Myers, but change my perspective and transcend my everyday life back in Indiana.