... in making hay while the sun shines

Published on 10 Aug 2019
Straw bales on a field with blue sky in the background

On a country walk at the weekend, I saw fields full of straw bales. When I was a child we used to call them 'Swiss rolls' and the sight of them in the fields is a reminder of travelling for summer holidays. The straw left over from crops like wheat is a very golden colour, and seems to retain somehow the sun which it has caught when it is growing.

Seeing the bales I recalled reading about haymaking (hay is of course different than straw, used as fodder rather than bedding) in the James Rebanks book 'A Shepherd's Life'. When hay is made from meadows, the wildflowers are caught up with the long meadow grass, dried and effectively preserved. In the winter, when all is snow and ice, he gives the hay to his sheep as extra food and is reminded of summer when he sees the dried wild flowers, and can smell the scent of the hay.

I reflected on the spiritual life. What is the equivalent of making hay for our spiritual lives? Do we have a way to help us recall our spiritual highs and moments of consolation?  I don't have a ready answer to this question, but it makes me wonder if a spiritual scrap book is a good idea. There we might press the flowers that helped us see the glory of God, or record the special moments when we found Christ in those around us.