First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com

The Heart of the Matter

September 5, 2018

The unmistakable sounds of certain things always leave us with a connection that cannot be broken.  For instance, I could sit and listen to Katy Dids call their ratcheting sounds forever.  The white noise hum of a sweeper used to knock me out when I was a child.  So many sounds, bring back so many memories.  Just the other day, I stepped into a time machine that whisked me back 30-40 years ago.

As I stepped inside the barn on the family farm, immediately sounds of all kinds bombarded my senses and this inside a quiet barn. In everything I heard, I could also hear your heart dad.  It was as though you were standing beside me.  

    In no particular order, I could hear you folding the blue tarp and commenting to me how its important to never fold the tarp the same way twice.  It helps keep the tarp from becoming weak on a common fold.  I could hear the rhythmic sounds of the hay baler out in some field scooping loose hay, ramming it into a bale chute, and the needles gliding through the tying cycle, only to hear the ejector kick that new bale up into the hay wagon.  A little further back in the barn, the grinder mixer would roar to life as swinging knives would disintegrate corn cobs, oats, wheat, molasses, salt, and everything else needed to make cow feed.

    I can still hear the rattling 40 foot aluminum ladder being extended as one of us would have to climb up on the barn roof or house roof.  Speaking of the barn roof, I can hear the steady tinkle of rain on that metal roof and there was no place better to be than in the barn during a rainstorm  The cascading sounds of raindrops could relax even the most tense muscles and minds.

    To the right sat the hay rake that would scratch the earth and gather cut hay into a windrow that would soon be gobbled up by the hay baler.  You always told me to lift the hydraulics a bit to keep those rake teeth from digging into the ground.  You were always the teacher. You were always the sage one who shared their wisdom so freely.  Thanks dad!  Back and to the left was the spawn of Satan wrapped up in the seed cleaner. I hated this implement with such fervor. It was my job to clean ragweed, mustard seed, and other inert junk out of the oats.  Standing for hours around this machine always left me with a good dose of congestion from all the dust.  Even still, the cleaner had a mechanical rhythm that would sooth the most harried soul.  Thanks for tasking me with this job dad. It taught me the art of patience that is still in progress.

    Back and to the right was your homemade cattle hauler.  That rickety thing should have fallen apart years ago, yet it still remains today as that piece of equipment that hauled calves, huge bulls, and the occasional hog.  The sound of those boards squeaking and being pushed and tested by that 1800 pound bull still ring true. Thank God you fabricated to withstand a tornado which allowed it to easily handle the animals we cared for.  Over to the far left just out of sight was the hay elevator.  You had your fill of throwing hay bales into the mow by hand.  After the mow was filled to the square of the building it was time for the electric elevator to slide bale after bale up into the top part of the barn.  Thank you for making life easier through some hack of a piece of farm equipment you bought in an abandoned barn.

    How many times you and I grabbed the big thick bristled barn broom and swept that barn floor. The scratching sounds of the thick black bristles always relaxed anyone who ran the broom! You always wanted that floor as clean as possible, just in case a stray spark from the tractor might land in left behind hay or hayseeds.  You were always thinking ahead.

    Today is your birthday. Not sure if they celebrate those in glory, If they do, happy birthday dad. If they don't, I'll just remember the sounds of each element of this photo and remember all the 41 birthdays I spent with you.  Your heart and mine will forever be connected through each memory we shared.  Did we spend enough time together?  Not as much as I would have liked.  Did you make me the man I am today?  Without any doubt in my mind, I am Ed Hughes' son and will forever treasure the time we spent on this earth.  Somewhere in the future and only God knows when that will be, we'll meet again.  There will be more time to spend together and more life to share as we circle the throne and praise God.  Can't wait! Until that day comes, your heart beats within me and that is good enough for me.

        The words of King Solomon remind me of a father and son relationship.  This also works for mother

                   child relationships as well.

"My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul." (Proverbs 2:1-10, NIV)

 

"A Musing Pastor"

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