Lots of young people marry for love now. Perhaps one day our son will do that. Times are changing. Our modern pig pen is evidence of that.
Life has been good to me. I am mistress in my own home, and have a healthy son. These days, we even have electricity and a TV.
Just look at the grain waving in the breeze. Wheat, millet, oats, barley and corn – there will be plenty for our family and extra to sell. The vegetable plot has done well too. Tomatoes, cabbages, eggplants, cucumbers and beans – enough to eat and more to preserve for the winter.
Watch out for that stinky pit. They’re our ‘traditional pigs’ down there. Over here is the ‘scientific pig pen’ – that’s an experiment – one that has changed our lives.
This is a good year. We’ll have meat, vegetables and noodles all winter. Such luxury.
Almost equal to the luxury of marrying for love.
But that’s not the best thing.
My sister and I moved here after a man approached our parents offering significant dowries for brides. We traveled a day and a night to reach this village. The moment I met my husband, his kind eyes, muscled arms and calloused hands assured me that this was a hard-working man who would provide for a family. It was a simple affair, our wedding. My sister and I were sent to the same village. Few brides have that support. Such luxury.
We’ve had good years and bad. Not even my strong husband can produce food from parched earth. Yet the drought could not detract from the wonder of our newborn son. I took one look at my baby’s almond shaped eyes and fell head-over-heels in love. Twelve years later, my love for this boy remains unchanged.
Yet even our wonderful son isn’t the best thing.
Until this year, we had no expectations of doing anything different to the generations before. Except perhaps that our son might marry for love.
Earlier this year, some funny foreigners came to our village. They advertised a pig-raising class. My husband decided to attend. He brought home a piglet and a list of rules, including instructions for building heating units under a fancy pig pen. Good grief. As if it isn’t difficult enough to keep our own little family warm and well-fed some winters.
Next my husband insisted on calling the vet to artificially inseminate the pig. Better strains lead to a higher return in the future, apparently. Fancy throwing good money at a man in a white coat with a syringe of pig sperm. What a ridiculous concept!
I control the finances. Yet that husband of mine insisted the vet be paid. If the high-class pig wasn’t treated exactly as the trainers insisted, we would lose it. It was only on loan until we could return two perfect piglets in its place. Grudgingly, I handed over the precious cash.
Sure enough, the pig produced quality piglets. I’ve never seen such fine swine. Not even I complain at the expenses now. Times change.
But the biggest change was in my husband. He shocked me by wanting to read the Bible and pray together as a family. He had been through school, as I had. Surely he knew that religion was only a superstition and not for sensible hard-working people. I refused to participate, busying myself with knitting the thick red long underwear that would keep us warm throughout the coming winter. But I listened well enough. It wasn’t long until I put down my knitting and asked to join in. The changes in my husband were amazing. Whatever he had, I wanted too.
Love. That’s what he had. That’s what this religion is all about. The love of the Creator for common people. The love of His people for one another. Love that even makes strange foreigners leave their luxurious homes so they can radiate love in our dry dusty country.
It is the harvest season now, the busiest time of the year. Yet every Sunday, we get on our large black bicycles, and cycle 45 minutes to church. Perhaps we’ll start a church in our village someday. The people here need God’s love too.
I hope our son can marry for love one day. Regardless, he already knows the greatest love. It is given to us by the Creator of life itself.
I didn’t marry for love. Unexpectedly though, through my marriage and an experimental pig pen, love found me.
Life is good indeed.
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