By Simon Ambit
A friend of mine recently took his family and headed to Lake Powell for the week. In his absence, he asked me to take care of things around his farm. Each night after work, I took my two older boys with me to help look after dogs, goats, cows and horses as well as moving a wheel line and a hand line of field sprinklers. But the crowning event for the boys was changing the irrigation water in the ditches.
Running around the top of the upper fields are a series of two to three foot deep ditches. In these ditches, the boys and I would temporarily install a series of strategically placed tarp dams. These dams back the water up and then cuts can be made in the bank to allow the water to flood out beyond the confines of the ditch and into the adjacent furrows, carrying the life-giving water down through the field.
The boys loved to step the water down the ditches with the use of the simple dams and then jump and swim and play in the pools formed by the backed up water.
Though extremely simple in concept and design, the dams performed a critical function. If the water was not stopped by the dams, it would simply follow the cut path of the ditch (around the perimeter of the field) and then dump into the larger drainage ditch and exit out the lower corner of the field. If this were the case, the water would do little or no good for any the crops which were not found growing directly along the banks of the ditch.
As I carved cross cuts in the banks in several places and watched the water flood out onto the field and down the furrows, I couldn’t help but think about the principle behind it all. I took a moment following the shoveling and the splashing to point out to my boys that like the water, if we are not careful, we can get so focused, so busy, so channeled on one thing that we forget what it is we really set out to accomplish. We cannot just stay in the ditch and hustle through the course of life.
We need to slow down and let our reach trickle out to others if we are to fill our full measure in life. If we can breach our barriers and give a bit of ourselves so that others can be nourished and grow, then we can all reach our greatest potential.
Water flows downhill, but goodness always lifts up! Life is full of good; take a moment to slow down and get outside your ditch bank through a small act of service or kindness.