A field and an old House



She pauses every time she drives by the field with the sad, abandoned house.  Something about the scene causes her to wonder if she has ever been inside the little house or played in the flower strewn yard.  Perhaps she visited this place when she was very young and she cannot quite remember who lived there; but that would be impossible because she did not grow up in Georgia.    It could be that she recalls an indelibly haunting painting she once saw years ago of a girl on the ground in a field, with her head pointing and her hand reaching and her legs dragging toward a house in the distance which has to be her home.   Maybe it’s simply because something about this spot perfectly frames an emotion she cannot quite access.  Today, as she drives by she becomes the girl in the painting, suddenly plunked down in the field of yellow.

What a spring this has been and today is the most lovely of all.  The temperature is perfect and everything is in bloom.  Capture this moment, I think, soak it all in.  If I could pick a spot of total freedom, it would be a field like this, a wild, twirl-around field of yellow flowers.  I am happy – until I am not.  Something heavy washes over me and pushes me down.  I am alone.  I can finally feel what I feel.  Tears come.  My mother is dead.

I’ve been busy and I’ve been brave and she was sick for a long, long time.  She was so tired and so frail and so confused.  I actually asked God on more than one occassion to take her home.  He answered my prayer so why do I cry?  I haven’t really been able to talk with her for years though I did get glimpses of her from time to time.  I cry.  Now I can never pick up the phone and call her again.

“She lived a good long life,” people say.  She did and I know that.  It’s a comfort.  I cry.  I think about the time my grandmother told me that losing her mother was the hardest thing she ever faced.  I’ve heard that from other people too.  I cry.  Up until now I didn’t know what it was like to loose your mother or how to comfort a freind whose mother died.  I still don’t.

Jesus looked down from the cross at his mother and asked John to care of her.  I look up from my field of yellow flowers and ask Jesus to care for my mother.  I look towards the house in the distance and try to get up.  I reach for a home that no one lives in anymore.

girl in field

Painting by Andrew Wyeth – Christina’s World 1948




Poor Me and the Terrible…..day

Grandson buckled up in the backseat. Backpack on floor.

Carpool line is moving onto the main road, having been given permission by the rapid-fire, gloved hands of the traffic controller.

Grandson seems a little sad.

First thing popping right out of my mouth, “How was school today?”

Thus begins the journey home.

“How was your day?” the unconscious greeting from my mother absolutely every time I walked through the door after a hellacious day at school.

“Fine.” the standard reply which meant, I don’t want to talk about it.

If she weaseled it out of me, my response was neither acknowledged nor given the sympathy it deserved, but no big deal. Does anyone really want to know how bad my day was? I certainly don’t want to hear about yours.

I know you’re asking, so how bad was it? Because you won’t get it, I’m not going to tell you. I’ll communicate by turning on the pout. The pout that inevitably leads to the all too familiar chorus of “poor me,” which taunts my minds ear like a “nanny, nanny boo boo.” I’ll probably hear the ghost of my father saying, “everybody’s out of step but Gwen,” and of course, the family favorite, “why don’t you go outside and eat worms?” (whatever the heck that means)

I suddenly realize why my own children received numerous doses of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day during our nightly bedtime rituals. Nobody says it better than that disgruntled little guy in his train pajamas, followed up by the wisest response of all time: “Some days are like that.”

“Fine,” grandson says.

“I ordered a fried egg for breakfast today and the white part had clear specks in it, and I hate it when the white part has clear specks in it,” I say.

“Mom made me wear my jacket today and it wasn’t even cold,” grandson.

“I went to get gas today and I left my wallet on the kitchen counter and I had to drive all the way back home to get it,” me.

“No one picked me to play on their team at recess,” grandson.

“I only got 12 hits on my blog today,” me.

“Well, I bet you get more tomorrow,” grandson.

“Let’s go get ice-cream,” me.

Rich Harvest

Family is a field to grow in.

Where children grow up

and parents grow patient.

Where mothers grow in maturity

and fathers grow in forgiveness.

Where sons grow in self-control

and daughters in discernment.

And this is what He (God) means —

For us to stretch and dig down and reach out

and for family to grow us full in the faith.

(Ann Voskamp  http://www.aholyexperience.com/)

I love these words. They are not mine.  They flow from a woman who lives on a farm, who writes what she sees, and sees what she writes.  The eyes and hands that once were her own have been given back to the One who formed them.  I offer these words as evidence.  g. bullock