I envision railroad tracks when I think about our soap-making journey and arrival to where we are today. If one had asked me in my youth if I would enjoy spending time on the business end of a goat, being covered in blood and afterbirth, squirted with milk, and covered in dust and God knows what, I would have laughed….hysterically. I was working in the public school system; I loved my job. I was working on a master’s degree in alternative/adult education. I enjoyed my studies. We lived in my dream house, a big old Victorian in a quiet little town. I liked my life. Then, life happened, and the train kept moving forward; the tracks kept switching and moving in a direction I never saw coming.
Isn’t that life, though? It’s how things go. One minute we’re focused on our careers, we have a plan, and things are great. Out of nowhere, SLAM! Life blindsides you, and suddenly your goals have changed. Life has you on a fast track to God only knows where. The great conductor keeps pulling the levers and switching the direction of the tracks to get you where you need to be. Sometimes the journey is pleasant. The landscape is beautiful; the routes run on smooth, balanced ground. Other times, it feels like an uphill climb, and you are running out of steam. However arduous the journey, the landscape always levels out. Somehow, we always find the steam to keep going. Eventually, we end up where we are supposed to be, doing what we love with the people we love.
Although I never imagined my life on a working farm, loving goats, making soap, and selling goat’s milk products, I am happy to end up here. Here is a good place. I’m not just talking about our farm. I love this farm. I love this land and that my family has a history here. Here is also filled with people I genuinely love and enjoy spending time with. Here is everything I could have imagined and more.
The journey to get here hasn’t always been an easy one. I lost my dad to live on his farm. In the process, I also lost the rest of my immediate family. There were times when I didn’t think we would be able to handle parts of this journey. However, when we lose people who are important to us, we eventually gain. During this journey, we have gained perspective. I can see things with a clarity I didn’t have when I was in the throes of turmoil. We have gained a family, a gathering of individuals who love, support, cherish, and respect us. We have gained an understanding of what is essential.
Is it hard work? Absolutely. However, it is rewarding and fulfilling to put all our energy into something that is important to us. Is it scary? Darn right, it’s soul-shakingly frightening sometimes. There isn’t anyone to fall back on if things don’t work out. I would give anything to have a conversation with my dad and pick his brain about what we should do. However, every decision makes me feel slightly stronger when things work out. Is it worth it? You bet it is. Would it be easier to return to the classroom and collect a paycheck? Or have Eric go back to doing his smarty pants computer stuff and collect a paycheck? Probably, but we wouldn’t get to experience all the wonderful people, growth, and development that comes with doing what we do. It’s the journey that keeps it exciting and the people that make it worthwhile.
On this “Throwback Thursday,” don’t be afraid when the tracks of your journey switch direction. Stay safe, be smart, enjoy the journey, and keep washing your hands.