Sunday, 1 November 2015

Hanging up my boots

Today is the day.

Much like Pierre Elliot Trudeau's "long walk in the snow" on February 29, 1984 during which time he decided to retire after 15 years of being Prime Minister of Canada - I, too, after hours of driving to Quebec City and home again this past weekend, have decided to officially announce...to the world, "I'm hanging up my boots". Okay...it's not quite the same as PET's dramatic and stunning announcement, but it's up there! No? Just humour me, ok!

But, how do I announce to the world (the world that I'm a part of) I'm selling the cut flower business, which my wife and I spent the last 9 years toiling to build by tooth and claw? How do I tell my loyal customers that I won't be calling on them next summer? How do I say thank you to Glenna W., Mona S., Dan L., Mike T., Terry M., Justin W., and Michelle S., to name a few? How do I say good-bye to the soil? How do I say farewell to working shoulder-to-shoulder with my wife and three children? Since it will take a small book to tell my full story and convey my gratitude to all of my supporters I've opted for a few paragraphs to start.

When I first started nine years ago the mantra I repeated often to myself was: "Failure is not an option." To me, selling or losing my business never entered my mind. Come hell or high water I was determined to make this a go. I didn't own a tractor, any equipment, a storage facility, or a delivery vehicle. The only things I had were some very, very perishable dahlia tubers, a small customer list, some very wise advice from my mentor, Mr. John VanWissen, a dream, and what I like to call 'raw courage'. Some might have called it insanity, if not borderline! As a good friend of mine told me frequently I was "living the dream"!

However, God has other plans and it's apparent that Horizon Flower Farm won't be my final stop. In his marvellous way he has caused me to rely on him more fully. I thought through my hard work and sheer will power Horizon Flower Farm was going to succeed and go on 'forever'. Although I knew God's presence I never fully accepted or acknowledged his provisional hand. God is persistent, though. A flood here, a drought there, a windstorm, a hailstorm, a crop failure - have all caused me to know where my help comes from.

Last week, while harvesting my tubers for the last time with my son, I asked him if he knew what I was really going to miss. He took a few 'stabs' at it. "Your customers? The flowers? Being your own boss?" Squeezing the soil with my hand and letting the clump fall to the ground I said, "Yeah - all those. But not as much as this soil. I'm going to miss the soil." It's the soil that provides the necessity of life for my flowers. It's the soil that provides the stability and a place for roots to anchor. It's the soil that draws the worms inside for shelter, nutrition and life.

But more than the soil - I'm going to miss working with my family. Smiles and laughter were not always present - but hard work and dedication were never in short supply. From the bottom of my heart I say, "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for allowing me to 'live the dream' even for a short while."

Above all this, I give thanks to God for being my rock...and my soil.

 
17 Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.
 
Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NIV)