This too shall pass: Perspective on the trials of harvest


“This too shall pass.”

Those were probably the most important words I was ever given as a lawyer. It was early in my career. I was still in a toxic work environment. I was freaking out over an assignment that I wasn’t sure how to handle. And we had a hard deadline looming. It felt like a sink-or-swim moment.

My secretary came into my office to grab a file. She saw how upset I was. And so she casually offered those words in encouragement. Honestly, I can’t remember my reaction at the time. But I probably wanted to punch her.

This too shall pass.

Over time I’ve realized just how important that phrase really is. I realized it as soon as the problem assignment was successfully completed and I was on to the next challenge. I suppose you could call it an “ah-ha” moment. It made an impression. And I can now admit, without hesitation, that she was absolutely right.

This too, like everything else, will pass.

Everything, inevitably, passes. So everything is, ultimately, temporary. There will always be more challenges, more difficult assignments, more tricks, more problems, and more upsets. We have to learn how to face them with grace and confidence. Because we will continue to face them.

It’s also important to have a sense of perspective. Not everything is do-or-die. Will this matter five years from now? How about 10? At the end of my life? That perspective allows us to remove ourselves from the situation. It helps us recognize that there are still more important and lasting things in our lives. And it allows us to diminish the perceived enormity of the task ahead.

This too will pass. And I’ll be able to handle what’s next, too.

I’m sharing these reflections now because so many American farmers are currently in the middle of harvest. And harvest is already a stressful time of year. Will the yields be good? Will the equipment break? Will we get done before the rain or snow? How long into the night can I work? Will everyone stay safe? The hours are long, the stakes are high, and it becomes a daily struggle.

And I know harvest this year is even worse. Plant 2019 was difficult and arduous. And, unfortunately, a lot of it never happened. So Harvest 2019 comes with even higher stakes and even more stress. The crops and yields aren’t good. The prices are low. The weather sucks. And there’s more on the line.

But this too shall pass.

Yes, the equipment will likely break. The yields are going to suck. It’s likely going to snow. The prices will still be low. And you’re probably going to be sleep deprived. It won’t be easy. But you will get through it. And you will, eventually, move on to the next thing.

Here’s the thing though: You might find yourself unable to keep that perspective, unable to deal with the daily grind, and unable to keep going. That’s OK, too. But it’s important that you understand you might need help making those moments pass. So be sure to reach out to someone and let them know: your spouse, your sibling, your parent, your friend, your pastor, your doctor, or whomever. Don’t be afraid to speak up and tell people you’re struggling.

Farmers are doing an incredibly difficult job. And not everyone understands how hard it is sometimes. And we don’t usually stop long enough to appreciate that, indeed, this is a lot to handle. So find ways to do that, preferably with people you love and trust.

And if someone tells you that this too shall pass, I give you my permission to punch them.

Amanda Zaluckyj blogs under the name The Farmer’s Daughter USA. Her goal is to promote farmers and tackle the misinformation swirling around the U.S. food industry.

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