Last Sunday one of the heifers birthed a brand new calf (I’m not actually sure how any other kind of ‘birth’ is possible… But it just sounded good). After the fires and floods, COVID and drought, it was the first calf born on our farm for more than a year.

After all of the events of the past year and watching the price of stock go through the roof straight after we had de-stocked following the fires, our son lashed out and bought half a dozen heifers. They were all with calf, and so the business case made sense (though the prices certainly don’t!). And after waiting a few weeks, they were delivered last Saturday mid-afternoon. We left them in the yards overnight to settle, and then Sunday let them out into one of the paddocks where we could keep an eye on them for a day or two.

On Sunday, their first full day on the property, one calved. It was such a huge relief to see things returning to some kind of normal, and several of our grandkids came up to see it all happening. Because they are heifers you have to keep an eye on them as this is their first calving, and you are never quite sure how they will go. The good news is she popped the calf out without any fuss, and the calf hit the ground healthy. Yesterday, exactly seven days later, number two hit the ground. Again, no fuss or drama just straight forward calving. And so we now have two calves dropped and four more to come over the next few weeks.

This time last year we were in one of the worst droughts on record and struggling to keep stock on the property. We then got hit with the fires that damaged fencing and other critical infrastructure like water pipes. Things were looking pretty bad! And now, less than twelve months on, we’ve got plenty of feed on the ground, good rain, and calves coming on. You couldn’t get two situations further apart.

Life goes through these ‘seasons’. Not as in summer and winter as much as that is obviously true too. What I mean is that life has good times and not so good times. There are days when everything comes together and others where it feels like everything is constantly falling apart. In some ways, how we handle both of those ‘seasons’ as we go through life is the true measure of who we are. Anyone can handle the good times with a certain amount of positivity. Not everyone can remain positive when faced with challenging times. But if our kids are going to learn how to deal with all the ups and downs life can present, then they are going to learn it from us. The adults in their lives hold that role. If we don’t teach them how to be ‘even’ and measured as life unfolds, then it will be Google, Facebook, Instagram or some random via their Twitter feed that will grow our kids understanding of the world. If we avoid taking up that responsibility, the world will be a pretty crazy place! And a confusing one for our kids.

It is scary that the rates of suicide, self-harm, anxiety and depression amongst our young people all coincide with the introduction of social media on a wide scale across our society (the curve started to climb around 2012, and has accelerated exponentially since then every year). Where I can see both seasons in balance, our young people can only see what they are experiencing right now. If you want to see what is driving the change in our kids’ balance and resilience, I suggest you jump on to Netflix and watch The Social Dilemma. It not only helps you understand why kids spend so much time on social media, but the impact of that on their lives.

As a Christian, I have a source of hope and joy that doesn’t depend on the ‘season’ I may find myself in. I know, every day, that God is in control even when I struggle to see it. It is just as true when I am faced with drought and fires as it is when I have plenty of feed on the ground and new calves dropping. God is always there. In the middle of the ‘hard seasons’, I can look back and see where God has blessed us, and know that it is not because God can’t bless me, but rather is blessing me with lessons that are harder learnt! Often these ‘hard-learned’ lessons bring about the greatest growth in me.

You may be in a ‘good season’, or you may be experiencing a ‘tough season’ in your life right now. Your life might be full of ‘heifers and calves’, or dried cow poo and burnt fences. Whichever, I promise you God is there. “I will never leave you”, is the promise in Scripture. It’s a promise I have found to be true…

Have a great week.

Geoff Brisby