I just completed a feat that made me give myself a little pat on the back. This girl spent two weeks in archery season and two weeks in rifle season trudging through the woods and up a ladder and into a stand waiting for a big buck. Through wind and sleet and snow (no hail), I sat and froze my bippy.
Somewhere in there, I decided that it’s not surprising that I love this hobby. I am the same girl that made and loved tree forts, spent every afternoon in the woods after school, and loves to stockpile food. I also love and respect firearms and the shooting of them. 🙂 And after getting my deer last year, I was hooked. I look at the whole thing with ultimate respect — the giving of life so my family can eat. And I thoroughly enjoy the process of waiting and watching Deer TV — the slowest show you’ll ever watch in your life.
I love how the experience changes me. It begins each day with a wardrobe change from work clothes into hurriedly changed warm-weather gear, my backpack, my rifle, and it transforms me into one who sits still. One who sets her phone down and breathes. One who has chapped hands and face and hat hair. One who returns breathless each night with stories of sunsets and deer and maybe a squirrel who jumped into my stand with me or a woodpecker who knocked at my door and scared the willies out of me. It might involve stories of pee-pee pants as I learned that my new device which allows girls to urinate on the go does not work unless one completely drops her pants. Quit laughing. I had to sit in said pee-pee pants for over and hour so as not to disturb the deer. This is how tough I am.
It reminded me of the famous family story that gets told and quoted time and again at our house. We were on a family trip and we were at a restaurant and it was a location that should have been warm so when our clothes were inadequate to keep us warm, I had a shivery baby. I think she was about five and so so cold. We were at a Japanese steakhouse so we were at a table with strangers — all of us facing each other. My little one managed to spill an entire bowl of hot soup in her lap. I say, with all gentleness, that at that age, this particular little one may have typically had a rather strong and dramatic reaction to soup in the lap. This time, with everyone looking on, she surprised us all by simply saying, “Well. At least I’m warm!”
That phrase gets repeated over and over around here when things seem dire and we choose to look at the bright side.
With two days left in hunting season, our meat freezer died. Sadly, it had died a couple days before we realized it and by the time we noticed, we had already lost a lot of meat — specifically, almost an entire deer, almost an entire grass-fed cow, almost a whole pig that we had purchased, 5 chickens and more.
Needless to say, with Christmas coming, having just finished 6 birthdays, and with a pretty neat tax bill due, the timing — and the basement — stunk. “Well, we have two days left to get a deer! So let’s get a deer!” we said.
No deer. Yeah.
We had prayed and we had asked and no deer. So many collective hours freezing and waiting and watching over the course of 2 months, and nothing. We left our stands the last night and met at the geese and duck and chicken coops to do chores and fist bumped each other — proud of how hard we’d tried. Determined to put a good face on things. And with the most thankful of hearts for all we have.
Friends, we don’t have a happy ending yet. Usually, this is the part where I tell you something neat like I hit a deer on the way home from work and look at that! Provision!! Or how one just walked up to my door and died and woohoo! Meat for everyone! God has done those type of things for us before. Checks in the mail at the very moment we needed it. Business deals that go through when things felt really dire.
This time, the miracle is that we have joy anyway. Even when things are frustrating and we can’t see the ending for the curves in the way, we firmly believe God has something just beyond our sight-line that is waiting to come into our view and finish the story in the way only He can. He has proven Himself more times than I could possibly count. Our family is healthy and happy and together and we have warm homes and will have a beautiful Christmas. Things are not dire. They are just inconvenient. We are 100% choosing to be thankful for everything and excited to see what is in store. We aren’t even allowing ourselves to complain or worry. Just not gonna do it.
Because, sometimes, the soup (or maybe the pee-pee) just spills all over your clothes. But at least you’re warm.