If the Lord had not preemptively brought a wonderful husband to me, I was toying with the idea of checking out a farm-wife dating service. (I have never in fact seen one—it remained stalled at the level of hearsay.)
This notion was fueled by a fantasy I have intermittently entertained in my brain—of swinging open the creaky screen door to a farm kitchen in early morning, inhaling the country air, walking over to the old red barn, chickens bobbing and clucking around my feet, a collie by my side. In this fantasy I am perfectly happy.
I have realized in thoughtful moments that the reason I am perfectly happy in this frozen moment of my chicken dream is that I never incorporate into the reverie any sense of past or future, and I never develop the scenario far enough to imagine that the woman in it (if she is not a two-dimensional cardboard figure) will have, besides the chickens and the dewy morning, a financial crunch, a husband with lumbago, a child who is far from the Lord, a tractor on its last cylinder, a church member who gossips about her, and a worrisome pap smear.
I am tempted to draw too quickly the wrong conclusion from this sober inclusion of a fuller context into my chicken dream. We’re tempted to decide that the very idea of a perfect moment is wrongheaded or imaginary, and to think that moments filled with anxiety are “real life.” Because most of us have never experienced a single moment (since childhood, at least) that did not drag into itself all the worries of the future and baggage of the past, we think this kind of living is normal. We say, “We must correct Andrée’s unrealistic vision by depicting the woman in it as full of worry as she walks from the kitchen to the barn.”
But Jesus said to not worry and to not be anxious:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink. … O you of little faith …your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”
Whether you live in a Manhattan flat, a Levittown bedroom community, or a chicken farm, press into Christ’s invitation to experience lyric little moments of perfect peace, one after another, by quietly doing your best and then relinquishing worry into His capable hands. Cast your anxieties on Him and refuse to take them up again. You may find that you are able to smell the country air and hear the gentle cackle of the chickens.