Hoe your row.
I learned what this meant from my mama. I am a mamas boy and I am proud of it. My mama wasn’t a religious woman until later in life, but she has been a spiritual woman all of her life. I remember that about my youth and my relationship with her more than anything else.
Mama had and still has a spiritual connection with her Heavenly Father that is uncommon. She really FEELS things. Maybe thats where I get it. I don’t know.
The Lord used my mama to teach me lessons that I still talk about to this day. My stories are stories that happen to everyone, but the older I get the more I realize not everyone receives these messages as though from the Lord.
As a little boy, I remember talking aloud to the Lord every day. He was my friend. I wasn’t raised in Church so I didn’t call Him Jesus or by any other name. He was just my friend. When things got rough at home I would talk to my friend. There were times things got really rough. When they did get rough I would often go hide in the shadows of a little place in the woods. It seemed that in this place, that it was always cool yet the sunlight would shine through upon my head no matter the time I would go to this secret place. This was MY secret place.
Mama found me there one day and there forward would always know where to find me if I went off by myself. The Lord’s Spirit was and still is in that little place. I would sit there and talk to my friend and listen as my friend would speak back to me.
I would tell mama how my secret place was cool but always warm at the same time. She asked why it was my secret place and I would tell her that my friend was there. She told me that my friend was Jesus. You gotta understand that this was a time when my parents had also taken me to the Doctor to determine why I was talking to invisible friends and hearing voices in my head. Some of you that know me will get a kick out of that!
At an early age, I bought into that. My friend was Jesus. I could always go to my secret spot and have a little talk with Jesus. He talked to me too! Mama told me that it was something others wouldn’t understand and that was a relationship that was BETTER FELT THAN TOLD.
To this day, mama is still the only one beside me that knows where the secret place is at. God has always spoken to me through mama and I guess He always will.
Fast forward a little. My paw paw was a crop farmer so of course we grew our own food for the most part. Mama was frugal. She bought what she couldn’t grow at the grocery store and she didn’t buy it unless it was double coupon day. I can still remember being perplexed as there were times mama walked out of Triangle grocery store in Rockmart, Ga with a buggy full of groceries yet the grocery store had to pay her.
I still remember those Summer’s when extended family members came over to work the garden. Mama, her parents, her sister, and our cousins would work in those fields daily. We would all share the harvest. The women would can or freeze everything from cucumbers, squash, peas, corn, okra, tomatoes and much more. We grew peanuts, melons, and cantaloupe too. I was just young enough that I only remember seeing cotton picked a few times. I was too young to do it but I do remember dragging paw paws tow sack or at least thats what I remember it being called. I certainly remember dragging those old canvas sacks when we picked corn. Good times. It didn’t feel like it then but those were good times. Once I was finally of age to work more and pretend work less, I was given work to do just like my older cousins. I recall the first time mama told me that I had to hoe my row.
If you’re reading this then you know exactly what the phrase means. I doubt many young people are reading this blog. I asked my son the other day if he had ever heard the term “hoe your row” and he thought I was using a bad word. I had to prove otherwise by showing him a hoe.
Anyway, mama showed me the row I would have to hoe before I could play with my cousins. As a little fella that row looked so long. The row I had to hoe looked like it could have been a mile long. I still remember feeling in my heart that I would never get finished “hoeing my row” and I would certainly not get to play. Everyone else was so much faster at it than I was.
It really is kinda like weight loss if you think about it. I had more than 100 pounds to lose and lost it all in under 6 months of diligent work and effort. Now I get to play more. To me, weight loss is easy. Anyone can do it and do it quickly. In other words, I get to have more holidays while maintaining my weight than someone just starting this lifestyle. To someone new at Shibboleth and who has lots of weight to lose it can appear to be a long and difficult journey. It can appear to someone new that it’s almost an impossible task. That is exactly how I felt looking down than endless row as a little boy.
I just stood there looking towards mama and remember crying my eyes out. I didn’t want to even get started. I’ll never forget mama coming over to me and admonishing me. She told me to “dry it up” and to get to work. She said that I would have to hoe my row and that I couldn’t come out of the field until I hoed my row. “Everyone is so much faster and better at it than me, I’ll never get to play.” I exclaimed. Mama doubled down on her scolding and left me standing there at the beginning of my row.
I watched everyone leave me behind. Adults and older children alike were working away and leaving me in the dust. I continued to stand there and cry with snot bubbles popping. It didn’t do any good. With no other options remaining, I remember looking down as I began to pull the weeds surrounding the okra plants up at the root with my hoe. I just put my head down and focused on the task at hand. I was slow but I was making progress. I stopped paying attention to everyone else and the speed of which they were hoeing their own rows. I focused on my journey and not anyone else’s. I still can remember feeling the SATISFACTION of working my row.
All of the sudden I hear playful noise. I see a ball being thrown. I see my cousins playing. Everyone is leaving the field but me. I was the only one still having to hoe their row. I looked at my spot on my own row and I wasn’t even a quarter of the way through. My cousins would be leaving before I could finish the work that was still before me.
I know that many of you that are trying to lose weight are feeling this same way. Friends, family or acquaintances have lost weight faster than you. They are receiving recognition and appear to have found a new lease on life while you are still struggling and trying to lose the weight. It seems at times that everyone is leaving you behind and that you are going to be the last one to the party. Thats the way I felt standing there in that field. At least until My Friend showed up.
I stood there as I watched mama walk out of the field and lay her hoe against the side of the barn. I was forgotten. I just stood their sobbing and looking at my mama. I am 46 years of age and couldn’t have been more than ten years old at the time. I still remember the FEELING when mama looked at me and our eyes met. I seen her smile. She picked her hoe up and started walking. She began walking to the other end of my row. I will never forget the feeling when I saw her working the other end of my row and working back towards where I was standing. I started hoeing my row with pure joy as my mama, my friend began working back to me. Together we finished that row and I got to put my hoe up and play a little while.
It’s not the playing that I recall. It’s the work that I recall. It is the work and effort that is the fondest of memories. As well, its the FEELING that I had when I seen my mama go to the other end of the row and help me complete what I started. Once you do the work to lose this weight, with Shibboleth’s help and God’s help you’re going to FEEL the same satisfaction.
As I look back, my mama wasn’t much more than a kid herself. She married my Father when she was sixteen years of age and had me when she was eighteen years of age. She’s been hoeing her row a long time and she has always helped me hoe my own row, but I first had to be willing to work myself. My family doesn’t believe in a free ride. The Lord doesn’t give free rides either. We all reap what we sow.
The Lord, known to me as My Friend at that time, spoke to me through that experience. I suppose it’s because of the way the Lord used my mama in my life that I am the way I am. I can’t stand to leave anyone behind. I will stay with them even to my own hurt if I must. I will stay with them as long as they are trying and as long as they want it for themselves as bad as I want it for them.
The experience taught me much. It also taught me that long after everyone else has forsaken you or left you behind that there is still hope. It taught me that if you refuse to work or refuse to hoe your own row that the tasks of life are emotionally unbearable. Yet, if you do your part even if you do it alone at times, that the Lord will always send help just in the nick of time. He and He alone will never leave you nor forsake you. If you work hard on your problem someone will see your efforts and the Lord will manifest His Spirit through them. God will order some good samaritan’s steps and that person will yoke up to you and to help you. He always supplies the help and support we need once our heart has met His conditions.
In time, I hope you see Shibboleth’s character this way. I hope you see Shibboleth as a family that insists that you work hard on your own row but still a family that will meet you half way and help you work on your weight loss goals. Shibboleth can’t do it for you, but the Shibboleth family will join you, cheer lead you, and support you.
This story probably makes no sense. I am not a professional writer. I write like I talk. I have no doubt that reliving the experience for a moment was more for me than you. After all, the experience I detailed was better FELT THAN TOLD. Like all things the Lord shows us through our experiences I hope one day that you can say Shibboleth IS BETTER FELT THAN TOLD.
Bless the name of the Lord,