I hearkened back to those summer days when I walked miles with a cotton hoe in my hand or a sprayer full of Round-Up on my back.
I hearkened back to those days riding on the counterweights of my grandfather's Ford tractor, jumping off to pull weeds as he cultivated the cotton.
I hearkened back to running through the milo field, cutting off the heads of Johnson grass, picking off sunflowers and buds, and then pulling out the stalks.
I hearkened back to picking cotton to ensure that my grandfather would get the first bale in the county for once in his lifetime.
I hearkened back to driving around the cotton patch at dusk, looking for weeds, listening to the wind blow through the leaves, feeling that same wind on my face, and sensing the deep peace that washed over that cotton field as the sun set.
I hearkened back to playing on the farm and climbing up, down, around, and under the tractors and farm equipment.
I hearkened back to listening to farmers talk about their lives while working at a grain elevator during harvest.
I hearkened back to the day when my grandfather showed me God was in the cotton.
I hearkened back to eating at the dinner table with my grandparents and parents, sinking my teeth into chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, and cake for dessert. Still am not sure I can beat grandma's chicken fried steak.
I hearken back to sleeping in the recliner after a long morning's work with socks blackened by thick, dark soil; waking and pulling shoes over those dirty socks; and heading back into the fields to work until dark.
I hearken back to the time of quiet in those fields where God and I had many conversations and there was nothing else to listen to but His voice.
God made a farmer, indeed. He made many of those in my family, and alas, there are only a few left. At least I carry the memories, and I hope to be able to instill a small portion in my children.
In the recent Texas Monthly Magazine, attention was called to the fact that 85% of Texas' population now lives in urban areas--surrounded by noise, and concrete, and exhaust, and people stacked on top of one another. Those of a spiritual nature have to literally carve out quiet space, usually indoors, to find a connection to God.
I was blessed. I had a cotton patch. And a grain field. And wide open spaces. And calloused hands. And sore legs. And a sunburned neck. And a place where God called.
And I answered.
Because God made a farmer...
God also made a pastor.