The Bad Harvest

By: Bona Dea Lyonesse

We know that now is the time to celebrate the harvest of grain. We celebrate the good harvest, the grain that is healthy, viable and nutritious. We know we will survive. Survival is easy when we have enough of what we need. But what about a bad harvest? What could one possibly celebrate about a bad harvest? Some would say “nothing.” One could starve, that is true. Like the Great Potato Famine in Ireland, the failure of the only crop planted meant death.

I am not intending to make light of suffering, death, and devastation, but in a metaphorical sense, it shows that perceived failure presents opportunities. Those who did not die during the famine made drastic changes in their lives. Many moved to the New World. Alternative crops were considered and different varieties of potatoes were developed. The survivors learned how strong and resilient they were.

Farmers in Peru (where it is said that potatoes originated) now plant hundreds of varieties of potatoes in several plots in different locations on the mountainsides, based on hundreds of years of experiencing different types of bad harvests. If drought takes one field, there is another one where there is more moisture. If one variety freezes out from the cold, there is another that is cold resistant. We learn from strife. If the harvest is always good like we would expect it to be, we would never have a reason to stretch ourselves or try anything new. We would lose our strength, initiative, motivation and creativity.

When we work toward a goal, only to have it fall apart; if we discover what we achieved is not what we wanted; if circumstances interfere with our intended desire, all is not lost. There is still a harvest. Look closely at the end result, but not through the lens of the harvest you had in mind. Open your mind, heart and soul to the possibility that a prayer was just answered. The end of a bad relationship opens the door for personal freedom or for a soulmate to come in. Losing your job gives you the time you craved for something more important or more fulfilling. Adversity helps you see who your true friends are. Surviving trauma makes you more compassionate and wise.

            There is always a harvest. What blessings did it bring to you?

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