This past week I have been in Northern Wisconsin for Christmas and celebrating my parents 60th anniversary. There is nothing more that re-energizes my battery than being up in the northwoods of God’s country, Wisconsin, especially snowshoeing or just “being up here.” (I have this romantic idea of owning a small cabin up here one day with a trout stream traversing the property!) I am one of those rare birds that thrives on the rugged cold weather. Everyday since I have been here it has been below zero. It is all about layering. You can be toasty warm in -30 below weather if you know how to layer smart.
One of the main reasons I am out here, other than re-charging for another year for Eschatos Ministries (new podcast episode coming this weekend), is celebrating my parents 60th anniversary. They are in their early 80s and still going well, thankfully.
My dad grew up on a dairy farm in Barron, Wisconsin, the oldest of four boys. He started farm chores and milking cows in first grade, yes, you heard me right. That is how it was back then. When his dad, my grandfather, had to go lumberjacking during some winters to make ends meet, my dad, starting in fourth grade, had the responsibility of the farm along with his younger brothers. In the brutal winter months—sometimes without electricity—my dad said he looked forward to getting into the barn in the early morning because it was warmer in the barn with the cows than it was in the house. He says even though it was hard work, “it was what you knew,” and there was a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. He did not experience indoor plumbing until he went off to the army. I asked him how he used the outhouse in the cold winter. He said, “You made it fast.”
It goes without saying that upbringing instilled a work ethic in him the rest of his life, even today as he continues to work. But what is most remarkable is throughout my entire life I have never heard my dad complain once. I have to remind myself of this often when I catch myself complaining over silly inconveniences of life.
My mother experienced hardships as well in another way, but that is for another day. I am thankful for my loving, godly parents who taught me a lot and sacrificed so much for myself and my siblings.
I am grateful.