Some of the best agvocating conversations happened this past week at the Minnesota State Fair. My husband, daughter and I volunteered at the Minnesota Farm Bureau building as part of the “Meet a Farmer” event. It was fantastic and we ALL had some really great conversations with consumers! But what we didn’t realize was there are bigger and more important things in life than just talking about agriculture.
After our shift, my husband (trying to hold back tears) shared with me of a conversation he had with a gentleman who happened to be a few years younger. This gentleman had filled out the quiz everyone was given and was ready to receive his free giveaway. He was reminded to also take the quiz card with him because of the taco salad recipe on the back of the card. Lightheartedly, he was asked if he had anyone to make the taco salad for him. Cordially he replied that he was a bachelor, but “he would be looking for someone at some point in the future”. A few moments later, he took my husband aside and told him his wife passed away 3 months earlier. She was just 51 years old and had died of cancer. An age younger than we were. My husband responded that he was very sorry to hear that and they continued to talk. He needed someone to share his loss with. And that took precedence over our mission that day. As the gentleman was leaving, my husband put his hand on his shoulder and told him to take care and wished him well.
It is these moments of agvocacy, where we think our conversations should be about agriculture, that we learn there are bigger things in life. It was a moment we wouldn’t soon forget.
What is more important is our personal connections with other humans – at times talking, listening and showing empathy about their lives and struggles they choose to share with us. You can’t help but put yourself in his situation. I am sure intellectually he knows she is in a better place but this wasn’t the plan. In that moment, it didn’t matter that my husband was a farmer, or that he could answer questions about how his food is grown or that he was honored to provide families with food.
This gentleman needed something more powerful.
He needed to share, with another human being, his experience of losing a loved one. And, after having lost our 3 1/2-month-oldI granddaughter, both my husband and I understood grief. God puts us all where we need to be and there is no doubt in my mind, this is where my husband needed to be that day. And . . .
He is a FARMER and I could not be more proud on how he connected with this gentleman that day.
Yes . . . there are bigger things in life.