Live Within Your Harvest

"Live within your harvest.”

I saw this saying on a plaque in JoAnn Fabrics, a sewing & craft store. This is an improbable place in which to be consumed by deep, philosophical thought.  However, I walked blindly all over the store thinking about nothing but that quote.


What does it mean?

The most obvious meaning to me is "don't overspend".  Although, a retail store would be unlikely to want to send that message. There must be more to it. Then I thought, "live within your harvest" must advise, “live and enjoy what you can within your financial means”. Closer, but still not right…

Then I thought, it must mean, "embrace life gleaning what you can from your situation, and do not pine for something that isn't there." (In case you don't know, glean is an agricultural term meaning to gather all the last remaining crops in the fields after the harvest.)

It was only at that point that I found it plaque-worthy.


How do I do it?

It could apply to a lot of situations for me personally, but here are two of the most significant:

I live within my harvest in regard to some of my relationships. I have been given these relationships and people as-they-are, and I seize the joy where it is to be found and I do not long for what they cannot give. I love these people deeply, and when I think and act deliberately, I revel in the gifts they bring to my life, but I do not expect anything from them that simply isn’t there. It isn’t easy, but I am getting better at this.

I've been given another place to live for the time being. It isn’t a permanent move, but it is a long-term relocation. I can spend the next several years resisting my situation like I have the first several years, or I can live within my harvest and embrace what there is to embrace until my living situation changes. This one is hard. Really hard. So far, I’m not succeeding. I need to repeat the saying, adopt it as my mantra. I need to move the plaque to a frequently-visited location where I will see it often. Maybe the inside of the refrigerator.

I firmly believe in changing what I can to improve situations for me, and for the ones I love. I make plans, take action, move forward. I am a changer, a do-er, a mover and a maker.


What if I can't?

There are times that we simply cannot change, do, move and make. Therefore, I also believe in the saying - “Live within your harvest”. Some may think that this suggests a defeatist, complacent approach to life. I think not... It doesn't mean we should shrug our shoulders and say, "that's the best I can do”. It means accepting what is, and what has to be.

Gleaning means working hard to get all the good stuff you possibly can, but the point comes when there is simply no more good stuff to gather, and we should recognize that point, and live fully within it. May you live within your harvest. Happy Thanksgiving.