Monday, July 25, 2011

Empty Field

The day that Joshua died, I carried him in my lap in the car, the 2 hours that it took to get from the hospital to home. Shane driving, proper transport paperwork on the floor between the front seats. My first time going home in over 7 weeks.

We brought him into our home for a few minutes. We hadn't yet told the kids that he was gone. We needed to tell them within the safety of our home- without anyone but the 5 of us there. It was one of the most intimate, private, and most gut wrenching moments of my entire life- telling our, then 2 and 4 year olds, that Joshua was no longer living. Listening to my son weep as he began to comprehend that we couldn't keep Joshua, the tears that Shane shed, and praying that Hannah would be able to understand the smallest amount of what was going on. 

After that, we took him to the funeral home. They knew we were coming, but we were there before them. We piled out of the van, Joshua in my arms and we went over to explore the perimeter of the cornfield next to the funeral home.

The corn was taller than us and dry. Ready to be harvested. It provided a good distraction for the kids, allowing them to look at and feel the corn. It allowed them to focus on something other than their baby brother's lifeless body resting in my arms. It allowed me to hide the tears and pain.

That corn in the field next to the funeral home- it's not there this year. The field is empty, nothing but a sea of dead leaves and stalks with specks of green where weeds have sprouted. The land is barren, allowing itself rejuvenation after a long and hard season of growing the intense crop that corn is.

The funeral home and field are next door to the subdivision in which my parents live. I drive past it at least once a week when I go to their house. I can't help but notice the empty field. The last place that I held my sweet baby boy in my arms. Those last few moments of feeling his weight in my arms, kissing his head, and fixing his hair. That field is empty and it bothers me.

It bothers me because I see myself and my life in that field. Dry and barren. Starting to become overgrown with weeds, trying to recover from the loss of a stressful and awful year of growing.

That field will, eventually, have corn planted and harvested again, but it needs rest. It needs to soak up the rain water, conquer the weeds, and become ready for planting. I feel like I am in that period of rest. Soaking in the nutrients, allowing healing to transform me from the inside out. Waiting for the planting that will produce a plentiful harvest.

I am that field- that beautifully empty field.

12 comments:

Lis said...

..............beautifully written

Mandie Hamrick said...

I know this isn't what you want to hear, but that was beautiful. The metaphor between you and the field was genius and really shows that you have a incredible talent for writing. I thank you for sharing some detail of what you and your family have gone through. You are loved by God and so many people and I hope and pray that He reveals His presents to you.

McEngland like the McCountry said...

Brilliantly, beautifully put. My mama's heart is grieving with yours (and I know I'm not the only reader who feels the void left by a child we've never met.) Not sure it helps but we're sending you all the love in the world.

Stephanie, Daughter of the Risen King said...

I know this corn field. When we came to Huntington for the funeral, Gabby picked corn with some other children. I took her picture on the edge of the cornfield. When I see that photograph, I think about how beautiful she looked. Then, I REMEMBER an amazing and blessed event. I REMEMBER Joshua, my messenger, my illustrator, and so many beautiful messages. I remember the metamorphosis that God lovingly brought to me. The sincere and thorough understanding of what God means to 'love one another" and the realization that I was not able to do it alone. The full understanding of willingness sent straight from my enabler. Because of His life and that of His messenger, this cornfield will never be empty. I am willing. We are so much more to Him than dried corn. Every life is precious. Every life is miraculous. One single life is worthy of a lifetime of praise to Him. Everlasting Father, thank you for the most amazing little messenger.

Peach said...

I'm not trying to take away or alter the sad poetic way that you've allowed us to see your pain... but that field isn't as barren as you think. The weeds that grow there are necessary, and it's still life. All sorts of little critters call that place home, it means something to so many different creatures... it's teeming with life and potential, just not the kind that you can openly see.

You indeed are that field, but you are not as barren and lifeless as you think.

The Real Life of a Red Head said...

Peach- that's what I'm getting at. I feel empty and barren and to some, I probably look it. But there is life there. It's just waiting to be seen. It's resting until the time of planting- gathering strength. It will be a plentiful field again. But right now it needs to rest.

contemplationsofahousewife said...

Being a farmers granddaughter I have a few more insights for you, Jill.

When a field rests, it isn't just barren and fallow. Underneath, there is restoration, growth, replenishment. While the outside looks deary, there is indeed life and growth happening. It must. To support that which comes, the rest is necessary for now. To give to the coming period, the field must replenish first.

So...you may feel the comradely of the fallow ground, but you also have the replenishment, growth and life happening underneath.

Peggy

contemplationsofahousewife said...

Okay so I just read what you wrote to Pearl! lol

Kristine said...

Every few years, the farmers have to have set aside and not plant anything. I'll never look at a set aside field the same again. A sad but hopeful place. Beautiful Jill.

Beth said...

If you look through the Old Testament law (in numbers, I think), you will find that God commanded his people to give their fields a Sabbath's rest every seven years. I think there were a couple reasons for it. 1) so the land could rejuvenate as you have said and 2) so the people would literally experience the provision of their God through a year of depending on Him to provide for their needs. It forced them to remember, learn, and know that God is our provider, Jehovah Jireh. We may not be under the Old Testament law anymore but I believe this still applies to our spiritual and physical lives today. I praise God that you recognize this period of life for what it is, a chance to rest and depend on Him in all things. Continue to be blessed, sister.

Dreamom said...

Another farmer here... :) The crop that usually follows corn in the rotation is beans. Why? Corn requires a tremendous amount of nitrogen - a nutrient that is essential to plant growth - any growth really. Beans on the other hand don't require as much nitrogen in the soil as they provide and fix their own. Also, since the cornstalks take more than a winter to breakdown, if you plant a grain (in the grass family) in the next season you run the risk of a disease transferring to the new crop - whereas beans are in a completely different species, and are not affected by grass disease. Finally, the beans, after the harvest will leave behind 'green manure' that will renew the soil with nitrogen, and plant material...

Although growing the corn was a huge stress on the soil, and depleted a lot of it's resources, and left it vulnerable to disease - the harvest was fruitful, and the next crop is designed by the Farmer to restore and renew and protect the soil for crops to come...

Sarah :o)

Robin said...

beautiful.

 
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