Is Anybody Out There?
I took this picture on the last day that the family farm was actually the family farm a few years back.
Eric and Sadie and I took off from Mom and Dad’s house and trekked along the fields that I had known since I was four years old. The sun shined bright on my old Kentucky home for sure that day. We walked all the way to the back of the farm. I dredged up the memories, held them dear, then tucked them back in.
As we meandered back to the front of the farm, I said goodbye in small ways.
Goodbye to the back forty where we dug half frozen calves from hay rolls and brought them to the warm stripping room to bucket feed them.
Goodbye to the flitting crawdads my little brother and I terrorized in our youth. (Terrorized by chasing, not by torture!)
Goodbye to the thicket where I was thrown by a huge buckskin quarter horse.
Goodbye to the glimpses of fox and rabbit.
Goodbye to the pleasant burial grounds of dogs long loyal now gone to rest.
Goodbye to the little branch where I learned to pick mint and stick it in my cheek.
Goodbye to the walnuts and sycamores in whose branches reigned the fierce hawks.
Goodbye to the paddock stables where I once touched the power of horse flesh.
Which brings me to this picture.
When does the absence loom larger than the presence?
Interesting to think about, really. When I was in the thick of grooming and mucking and sweating out life on the farm, I didn’t think of what could be lost. Only of the burden and joy of what I had.
Therefore you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not obey you. You shall also call to them, but they will not answer you.
Jeremiah 7:27 (NKJV)
Jeremiah, on the other hand, was given a gift to know both. As a prophet to the Southern Kingdom, Jeremiah was called to speak those things that are not easy to hear, not easy to implement. Especially if the message is one that folks would much rather ignore.
And ignore they did.
Continue reading in Jeremiah and you will find that things get worse before they get better. The Babylonians lay siege to the city of Jerusalem. Many of the Israelites are carried off into captivity where they would remain for several decades.
They refused to listen to the words that would bring them life. The words from God Himself sent to them through the lips of Jeremiah.
God, in His Sovereign omniscience, knew all that the people would do.
Yet He still told Jeremiah to speak.
And Jeremiah obeyed.
Despite imprisonment, despite being alone, despite being told by God to do things that didn’t make sense, despite death threats, despite knowing that no one would listen to him … Jeremiah obeyed.
Writers, we know what we have because we write of it. We know what is to come because we have the Scriptures. We are told to go and tell.
As we tuck this year into our memories, walk from the back to the front and learn to let go of what is behind, let’s just remember to keep calling, “Is anybody out there?”
This is what the faithful do.
Categories: Encouragement for Writers