faith, Pandemic Wisdom

Bugs and Plows

We like old things. I’m not sure when it started but my husband and I share a love for vintage things. Our favorite old things are from family members and remind us of them. I have the tiny vase from his grandmother’s house that holds one flower. I have a plaster piece of artwork of an old church my dad made when he was a little boy. We have a set of old clock faces that my husband’s Papaw had stored among many other things in his work shed. He was a little obsessive so each clock is set to a few minutes after 3. I treasure thinking of him setting those old clocks. I have a tiny calendar from my grandfather’s automotive store in Ennis from March of 1946 where they’d circled when the chicks would hatch.

If you come to our house or walk around our yard, our love of the old is rather obvious. We’ve lived in our current house for 24 years. One guy who is pretty familiar with the place is our bug man, Mark. He comes quarterly to keep our home bug free. Multiply 4 times a year times 24 years and you can imagine that Mark has observed a few things about us. I guess if you are a bug guy you notice things. He seems to always see more ants and other pests than I ever do. He likes to talk about bugs more than me as well. He is the one person I know who genuinely listens when I tell him a bug thing. He brightens up when I talk bugs and asks many follow up questions to clarify. I always feel like I disappoint him in the long run because I just can’t talk that long about bugs.

He was here yesterday, doing his thing. When he was finished he said, “I need to show you something.” He motioned for me to come outside. I was thinking termites, giant flying roaches (which I hate) or some other bug disaster awaiting me.

What he showed me out front was an old, very cool plow. Yes, a plow. He told me he wanted to give it to us because he knows we like old things. A woman had given it to him years ago and he just decided it should belong to us.

I cannot describe how surprised I was, how touched I was, how delighted I was. The bug guy thought of us and gave us a plow!

In 24 years Mark and I have never talked about politics, religion or much of anything except bugs. I don’t know who he will vote for or what he thinks about who I will vote for.

As our country revs up for an election, as we stand divided how to deal with this virus, as we vilify one another and our candidates, it seemed so surprisingly refreshing and beautiful that my bug man brought me a plow. Every time I think about it, I shake my head and smile. I keep going outside to look at it because it seems more like something I would dream up. I keep checking to make sure it is true.

Isaiah 2:4 rings in my ears this morning, God will judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares….

As we make it through these next weeks together in our country, I wish we could be more like the bug man. Less about fighting, arguing and tearing one another down and more about noticing, kindness, surprising each other pleasantly and leaving someone smiling in wonder and joy.

I wonder who needs a plow from you in this tough season?

Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, breast cancer survivor and Mosa to Keller, Pace and one on the way. Go to to read more blog entries, see upcoming speaking events and to get information about the weekly Jesus Calling Prayer call she co-hosts. Sign up there for the Inner Circle monthly email Top Ten List. The October 1st list is all about How to Survive this Election season. Sign up by September 30 to receive it. Dr. Ryan will be preaching on Facebook live this Sunday 10-4 at 11 a.m. at Martin UMC, She is also speaking on Soul Tending in Uncertain Times at a virtual women’s retreat there from 1:30-3:30 p.m. this Sunday, 10-4. It is open to all women. Go to to sign up by 5 p.m. October 1, cost is $20.

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