There’s canola in my bed and it makes me smile.
Perhaps I should explain.
Currently, harvest is in full gear. I see my husband at mealtimes (maybe), and when he crawls into bed after combining fields well past the middle of the night. Last night, some canola seems to have crawled in with him, and at 38 weeks pregnant I look at those little black seeds, give the squirming munchkin in my belly a little rub, and I smile. I smile because today that canola reminds me of all that I have to be grateful for.
I am grateful for a safe harvest and crops stored safely in the bin.
I am grateful to be part of families who are passionate about what they do and care about being good stewards of what they have been given. And I am grateful that this statement extends beyond my immediate families, to our family of faith.
As I think about the faith community our little one will grow up in, I am filled with gratitude and anticipation. Sunday school, church plays, arranging family trips around wherever the next “gathering” (or whatever word we’ve moved onto by then) is being held, and, of course, that first week at camp. Here in Mennonite Church Saskatchewan we talk a lot about the joy we have of being together, and I think this is true at every level. Locally, regionally and nationwide, there is a goodness when we gather that is unlike anything else.
I experienced that goodness profoundly at Shake, the youth gathering held at the Shekinah Retreat Centre near Waldheim this past summer. At Shake we laughed, we cried, we worshipped, and we experienced God together. Our hopes and dreams were exceeded in ways only possible when the goodness of God is present. And none of it would have been possible without the support of our family of faith: the congregations and families who made it possible for youth to attend, the regional leadership who gave their blessing to staff to make their crazy dreams a reality, the incredible volunteers who gave of their time and more, the youth leaders who said yes to the unknown, the youth who were our inspiration both before and during the event, and the community of saints who helped us up in prayer.
I may be a child raised in a village, but it takes a nationwide family of faith to offer our youth the kind of holiness we experienced together at Shekinah this summer.
MC Saskatchewan is currently exploring what it means to deepen our walk with each other, and in a way that’s exactly what Shake was: a deepening of our walk together, a walk that I am grateful to be on with each of our families, in every sense of the word.
As we make final preparations for our little one, I don’t expect every mess I clean up to have such a profound (or odour-free!) effect. But as I remake the bed and prepare another field lunch, I smile, because today I am grateful for the canola in my bed.
Kirsten Hamm-Epp is currently on maternity leave from her position as MC Saskatchewan’s regional church minister.