“And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis I)
The agricultural land north of Dallas is being gobbled up by residential development. I suppose there is nothing inherently wrong with this. The Metroplex is rapidly growing, and this expansion of bricks and mortar has been taking place for decades. People need homes in which to live, and I begrudge no one for seeking a community and schools that are farther from the tall steel and glass buildings that now dominate the skyline in both Dallas and Collin counties.
But there are losses to grieve. There is a holy spot in Collin County where I personally buried both a prized horse and a beloved dog; it is now covered by the concrete parking lot of an assisted living home. Thousands of acres where I once roamed – fishing, hunting, and riding horses – are now covered by houses, some of which belong to good friends. Occasionally, I offer myself just a moment to mourn these losses as I drive farther north to find the wheat fields and open pastures that offer a respite from the city life that has been so good to me and my family, but which occasionally feels claustrophobic.
My eleven-year old grandson, Liam, recently helped with my fall cattle works. We have just a few cows, but he gave injections and poured liquid wormer down their backs. He spent some time with my mare Bella, and he roamed the pasture of Siete Ranch with a bow and arrow pretending to be someone else in another time and place. He finished the night in the company of men, eating steaks cooked over mesquite coals and enjoying the muted conversation that accompanies the darkness of a sky that is lit only by moon and stars. I consider this to be a vital part of his education.
The more I read the Bible these days, the more I find myself turning to Genesis so I can be reminded that, in spite of all that we humans can create, including the chaos of our current political and social life, it pales in comparison to the One who first breathed life into the universe; the One who continues to love us even in our preposterously unlovable moments. Pondering that thought around the embers of a dying campfire leads to a feeling of serenity I simply can’t find anywhere else.
Rev. Don Underwood