Someday is now
Seeing the God dreams right in front of us
by Donna Frischknecht Jackson
The Christmas tree is losing its needles and the cutout Santa cookies are beyond stale. Christmas 2017 is fast-becoming a memory. All eyes are now on 2018. That means our eyes are on the goals and dreams we cradle in our heart as we vow this year will be the year in which they come true.
This year I will learn a new language. This year I will get in shape. This year our little rural church will grow. This year our congregation will paint the church, get high-speed internet, be more active in the community. This year…
Morning has broken on yet another sub-zero day in Vermont. I throw on my Mucks and several layers of clothing and, with a steaming thermos of coffee, venture into the bitter cold to start my day with my version of a breakfast for champions—a hearty prayer walk. Who needs a bowl of Wheaties?
The sun is breaking through the clouds hanging low in the valley. In the distance, I can see Vermont’s Green Mountains draped in white snow. I let out a sigh of contentment. This scene always brings joy to my heart, taking me back to a long-ago visit to my father’s homeland of Switzerland.
It was there a young girl with pigtails held her dad’s hand as they walked the hills blanketed with so many wildflowers that not a patch of green grass could be seen.
It was there a young girl would already sense in her life the awe of God’s hand at work in nature, watching as the billowy clouds wrapped around the mountains that seemed to embrace the quintessential Swiss homestead with mystery and grandeur.
It was there a young girl, full of big dreams for the tomorrows yet come, said to her dad, “Someday I’m going to have a farm just like this.”
I walk up the steep snow-covered hill and notice I’m not alone. The shadow of that young girl with the pigtails is walking with me. I stop and stare and hear my dad’s voice as clear as if he was standing right beside me.
Someday you will. I’m sure of it.
That’s what he said to me so long ago. That’s what he still says to me even now that I am all grown up.
Somehow. Some way. Someday.
Suddenly, I’m standing smack in the middle of my farm. Where once I only saw acres of nothing, I now see the barns that will stand, the chicken coop to be built, the pond yet to be dug out of the forever wet and marshy piece of land that was such an eyesore to me. I can see the fruit trees not yet planted. The garden not yet tilled. They are all there — a young girl’s dreams, hopes, prayers, being answered.
How many times, though, had I walked this prayer walk and never once realized that my “somedays” were right in front of me, waiting for me to notice the blessings in the present moment? And if my someday farm is now, what about my someday church?
I thought to the little church God has called me to serve and wonder: How many times have I failed to see beyond empty pews to the new thing God is up to? How many times did I miss ministry opportunities right before me because I was looking to do something else?
How long will I continue to miss the now by talking always about someday?
I reach my hand towards my shadowy companion, hoping in some miraculous way to hold the hand of that girl I once knew, the one with the pig tails who had such trust in God. Perhaps if I could hold her hand, grown up fear and skepticism will give way to childlike faith.
I reach, but miss. The shadows of the past are elusive. So instead, I reach my hand for God’s, deciding to grab hold of the beautiful here and now. I reach, hold on and hear a parent’s reassuring words once again.
Someday you will. I’m sure of it.
Rev. Donna Frischknecht Jackson, interim editor of Presbyterians Today, is a former NYC magazine editor who traded in her heels for a good pair of barn boots when she was called to serve First United Presbyterian Church in rural Salem, New York. The little village sits on the Vermont border. She hopes to get chickens and goats one of these days. Till then, she writes, edits, preaches, tries to garden, quilts and shares the funny and moving moments that comes with being a rural pastor on her blog accidentalcountrypastor.com. Drop her a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.