Lessons from the Farm

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…(Romans 12:2)

I love having divine moments in life that help me to correlate them to a scripture. They are rarely huge epiphanies, yet realized only afterwards during reflection. I recently had one of these at a farm my friends own in the lush rolling hills of Kentucky. My daughter and I made our way down the hill to the barn to visit with the goats. One named “Madge” was swelled by pregnancy. You could hold your hand up to her sides and feel the kids moving around. Besides the joys of adorable baby goats running around, is the renewed abundance of milk for the family. If you have never had fresh milk, it is a treat. You do not realize how poor store bought milk tastes in comparison. It is hard to even describe, it must be experienced for one’s self. I went home with two mason jars brimming with milk from that morning. Thick cream rimmed the edges when you removed the lid. As it sat in my refrigerator the next day, I became a little apprehensive about drinking it. I know the goat that it came from. I know they are raised in the best conditions, free of antibiotics or hormones. I know the preparation and care of the milk is done so in the most sanitary conditions. There was no logic behind my thinking, or so I thought.

I forced myself to open the jar and pour a glass. The milk poured over my tongue it was sweet and delicious, yet part of me was repulsed. How is it that I can drink milk purchased at the grocery store, sourced from God knows where, by cows that are treated like who knows what, and of questionable quality with out thinking twice? When I had asked myself this question, I thought about that scripture. Because the goat milk was something different, my mind responded with disgust. I was conformed to a culture that equates “normal” with plastic jugs from the store. I needed to renew my mind. Getting milk strait from the source is often only a pleasure to those who own the animals, or in my case have some generous friends.

This also makes me think about how society views breastfeeding. Because our culture has reduced breasts to nothing more than sexual objects, their true purpose is viewed in that same repulsive manner. Babies drink formula from cans in bottles, not from their mother’s breasts. At least that is our beliefs portray. We are unable to logically separate that which is natural, from what is normal. This is what happens when some see a breastfeeding mother in public, especially such as the one featured recently on the cover of TIME magazine with her then 3 year old son. There are cries of obscenities. It seems like a huge leap of faith to ask our society to accept these things with out criticism. That is part of renewing our minds as a nation. Many people are unaware of the World Health Organization’s recommendation of breastfeeding until the age of two, and beyond as desired.

Breastfeeding women are considered rebels of our society in a sense. Most of us have dealt with a well meaning individual with words of discouragement masked as encouragement. Perhaps even flat out harassment. And that is why. It is not normal to many, and it is different, which draws out fear. It is going to take repeated exposure to that which makes us uncomfortable to recalibrate our senses. I am grateful I have a job where I can guide women and families through this journey. Often all it takes the gentle reminder of the baby at the breast, that they are giving them the best, and sharing the lessons from the farm.

Copyright 2012 Jamie Buelterman