I'm getting back to my blog after almost a year off! Really, how do you post about life in another country when you're not there?? So, I was busy doing other things. We're hoping to return in a few months, after our kids finish the school year, but until then, I was hit with a new idea: why not post stories that I can remember from my childhood?
Stubbornness didn't just appear when I hopped that plane across the ocean. Stubbornness has been my constant companion since I was a little kid, running around a hog farm in the middle of cornfields, surrounded by my extended family. It lived with me through my small-town school days. It pushed me to keep going when I didn't feel like I fit in. It got me in trouble sometimes . . . and screwed up my life once in a while. So, until I have more stories from the other side, I'll tell some stories from the beginning. I've been stubborn from the start. Here's one to get started. It's one of my first memories. It's fuzzy to me, but I'll tell it as my Mom and Dad always did.
There was a day I didn't stay put. My Dad was a hog breeder. That meant that he was trying to raise pigs that were stronger, healthier, and better quality so that he could sell them to larger farms who raised pigs to sell to the market. Every year, there would be sales, shows, and fairs that he would bring some of his best pigs to show. If he could get prizes at these fairs, then it was good for his business. It was also a place for him to see all of the other hog breeders and hog farmers who were his friends, "pig friends," we called them.
My sisters and I all enjoyed going with my Dad to these shows. Sometimes the whole family would go or sometimes he would just take one of us, leaving Mom and the other 2 girls at the farm. Sometimes, Mom would go and Dad would stay home. On this particular trip, I was around 2 years old and still in diapers. Dad took me to the National Barrow Show in another state. We had enjoyed ourselves and I had played with some of the other kids while Dad showed his pigs.
It was the last day and we were packing up to head back home. We had a pick-up truck with a topper over the truck bed where the pigs rode. Dad had to go load up the pigs, so he put me in the cab of the truck and told me to stay put! He'd be right back. I remember sitting there, watching my father's back disappear into the crowd. He was gone forever!! What in the world had happened to him? He had told me to stay put, but surely he didn't mean for me to sit still for this long?! (My Dad would tell me later that he was gone for less than 5 minutes).
So, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I hopped out of the truck and started walking around the pig barn, looking for Daddy. In the barn, there were rows of small 8x8 foot pens that the pigs would be kept in until their turn in the show ring. Most hog breeders would also have a pen where they would keep their feed, show brushes, and other supplies. Also, most would have several folding chairs to sit in and relax. As I moved through the rows, a teeny little 2 year old, looking around, walking with purpose, a kindly, older lady spotted me. She could tell that no one was with me, so she called out to me, "Hi, there! Are you lost?"
I can remember looking at her. She was sitting on one of those folding chairs in a pen, gentle smiling eyes watching me. I knew exactly where I was, so I responded, "No, my Daddy is lost!" Well, I can't remember her response to that matter-of-fact information, but I do remember sitting on her lap, babbling away about this and that until I saw my Dad come running down the rows of pens. I couldn't figure out why he looked so worried and upset!
It's easy to think we're not lost. To think we have it all under control. But, compared to our Heavenly Father, we have very little under control. My Dad knew the plan. He knew what was best for me. He told me to stay put. But, to me, in my little kid head, it seemed like a bad plan. It seemed like it took forever. So, I just had to wander around and mess everything up. From my point of view, it was Daddy who had it wrong, who was missing. God feels missing sometimes, too. But, He's not! Wait for Him! Stay put! I'm so thankful that this woman saw me and kept me from wandering into a bigger disaster. By God's grace, I was reunited with my Dad and we were back on the road together!