© Another Day in the Country
One of my favorite music groups is called “Greencards,” and they are performing this weekend at the Dyck Arboretum in Hesston. This isn’t a commercial, it’s an introduction; perhaps to the group, maybe to their music (if you look them up online), or there is an unlikely possibility that there may be a ticket or two left for their performance.
I found them several years ago at a bluegrass festival in Winfield. And the reason that I’m mentioning them in my column is because of one of their songs which is called “Water in your Well.” The song speaks to me. The lyrics talk about discouragement, the feeling that comes over us at times when it seems all hope is gone and the refrain comes into the melody line, “You’ll find water in your well, you’ll find water in your well.”
This song, for instance, reminds me to have courage as my body ages. I have friends, older than I am, who are going through this stage in their lives. “We didn’t know what it would be like,” says one, “until we got here. I’m doing the best that I can,” and she smiles.
“In the past year, I’ve failed so much — and you know this,” says another with her familiar, keen look, “this is hard, Pat.” And I know this is like going through a narrow, rocky gorge with high walls — no turning back, our only choice, really, is to forge ahead and we don’t know exactly how this all turns out. “You’ll find water in your well,” the song reminds me, “when all hope is gone …”
Sometimes, instead of just enjoying each day as it comes, with its unusual gifts and woes, we squint into the future and think, “What if something terrible happens, what then?” And I have to remind myself that terrible things have happened in the past, times where I thought that surely I’d be knocked down and bowled over; but somehow I just dug a little deeper, learned something new, focused in a different direction and here I am — here we are. When we thought the well was empty, spent, we found water.
When I was young, I teethed on Bible stories; after all, Papa was a preacher. I remember the story of the widow with one son, hungry, needing oil to make her bread and how Jesus promised that she’d always have enough. Maybe the barrel would be low, but each time she approached there would be something there. Faith! That’s the good ecclesiastical word, that is called for to explain this phenomenon. Faith in a Higher Power, faith in the world around you, faith in your neighbor, faith in yourself.
My old friend, Dr. Shaw, who was such an important part of my life until he died in 2000, used to say to me, “When the going gets tough, Pat, I just say to myself, ‘If John L. Shaw (his father) could do it, I can do it.’ And I pick myself up and go on.” He found water in his well by remembering how his ancestors had comported themselves in difficult times. By their example, he could also persevere.
I have a well in the backyard of the Ramona House. Every year when I approach it and turn on the electricity that powers the pump I wonder, “Will there still be water in this well?” It’s important to me because I water the garden, water the chickens, and water the lawns of more than one house with this well. This year, once again, in Ramona, where at times the water has been found to be polluted, water ran clean and clear from this well, and I gave thanks. I’d found water in the well!
When I sat down to write this morning, I had no idea what I was going to write about and then this song came floating into my head, “You’ll find water in your well, when all hope is gone …” and I smiled, “I need to tell my friends about this,” I said to myself.
This is my wish, today, for each of you reading this column; that you will find water in your well. Even if you think your well of courage, love, finances, energy, health — whatever you feel you lack — has all run dry that you will find something deep in the well of your heart to sustain you, for just another day in the country.
There will be no “Another Day in the Country” column April 18.