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  • Writer's pictureThe Farmer's Wife

How do you look when you die?

Updated: Mar 12

As some of you know, my husband is a Paramotor pilot and a writer for the Fillmore County Journal.

Perhaps "How do you look when you die" is poor writing form for someone who straps a fan to his back and runs into the sky suspended by a piece of fabric, but I love the way he makes me think.

- I wanted to share it here because maybe it would do us all some good to answer the question... How will I look when I die?

By asking that question, we will invariably see how we're living.

Check out the Flying Farmer's take on death:

"Turn on the dancing music!", yelled my 4 year old son. We had decided it would be fun to learn a dance move called "The running man" which is essentially a series of marching and sliding backwards in such a way where it looks like you're walking but you're staying in the same place. It hurts your brain at first because your legs are moving back and forth but you're not going anywhere. For our family fun night, we practiced this move over and over again until we could get the marching and sliding of our feet to a 'natural' feel.

I spent my whole first year being carried around or sliding on my belly. It was then I decided enough was enough. It was time to take things into my own hands and get myself off the ground. The year was 1985 and I had spent three hundred and sixty-five days breathing this planet's air. It was my first birthday and there's a picture of me taking my first steps across the kitchen toward my waiting dad. You could say I was a one day walking-wonder but then you wouldn't have seen me consistently “working out” for the first 12 months of my life.

Right now, my one-year-old daughter is working on that same milestone. You wouldn't think it when you look at her, but she is developing the coordination and muscles necessary to hold herself with balance. You may have heard the saying, “Consistency compounds” meaning that the things you do over and over again become the big things in your life, which build who you are.

Craig Groeschel says, “when you're born, you look like your parents, but when you die, you look like your habits”.

If you take your consistent, daily habits and look to their logical end, who would you say you are becoming?

If you’re not sure, ask someone close to you.

“Look down, look left, look right, step forward, step back, launch.” Am I practicing a new dance routine? Although that would have been true if you had caught me learning the 'running man' dance move, this is an altogether different kind of dance. 

This is the routine that happens twenty seconds before the thrilling moment that gravity gives up its hold on me. 

Routine's, or the things we practice, are important because the little things we do regularly are the things that form us into the people we become.

It may not seem like a big deal, but my little preflight routine ensures that I'm correctly strapped in, I check my wing tips, my surroundings, and I confirm my proper positioning in front of the wing. All of these “insignificant” things could cost me my life if done incorrectly. It is the same with our “insignificant” habits. 

The things we do regularly form us into who we are becoming.

My nephew was recently doing a very peculiar thing. He was sitting in a chair with his eyes closed waving his arms around like a kid in a parade trying to get more candy. 

What could appear to be an unnecessary waste of time and energy was actually a precise and calculated behavior that was required for his pilot’s training. He calls it "chair flying” where he visualizes and points to every detail of the cockpit in his take off, flight  and landing. He was determining his future by the things he was rehearsing. Going through the motions of flying while sitting in a chair allows him to be so practiced that the motions of flying become second nature. These practices recently helped him pass his flight test!

What are you rehearsing about your life? Are you rehearsing things that will make you into the parent or spouse you would like to be? 

What little things are you practicing that will one day be the big things?

Here's some suggestions from John Bunyan. In his book called The Holy War he says to "Guard your gates". He came up with five ways we let influences into our life. Here they are:, Eye-gate, Ear-gate, Mouth-gate, Nose-gate and Feel-gate. 

What are you consistently watching? What are you consistently reading? To what are you listening? Rehearse truth because it will change who you are.

Set up guards on your gates and choose your habits. Remember what Craig Groeschel said? “When you are born, you look like your parents. When you die you look like your habits.”


Meet your farmer - Jonathan Gerdes. He and his wife run a farm-to-table Raw Milk dairy and farm airbnb in Caledonia, MN. If he isn’t in the barn,  you can find him dating his wife, playing with his kids, leading youth group, or flying in the sky. Visit for more info. 

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