And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
~ John 14:3
This picture was taken when I was about 15 years old. I'm the kid looking down at the ground, standing next to one of our fields on our farm in Southern Indiana. My grandfather took this photo. Funny how some days just seem to stay in your memory.
Life on our farm never seemed to be "easy," although there was nothing like being able to spend time walking a fence-line after a storm, play under the falls from the stream down at the bottom of the hill, or to watch as our cattle were turned out for the first time in the spring. They would literally kick their hooves up as the green meadow greeted them.
While I don't talk about it much, my stepfather was a pretty abusive man. I'm not sure if it was the pressure of raising five children in a blended family. Trying to take care of a farm, while driving fifty miles each day to work as a foreman in a factory. Being married to my mom who was an alcoholic. As an adult I have spent years of my life "processing," so much of what occured during those years, with a lot of grace and forgiveness.
So much of the time I would think of living life beyond those fields, especially when an encounter with my stepfather had been exceptionally harsh. I remember praying... a lot. Sometimes the prayers were for understanding. Sometimes for God to change everything. Sometimes they were raised just simply to talk to someone I thought would listen.
Funny how forty years later I look at this picture and see the green field in my mind and think of it as the quiet meadow that the Psalmist shares of in the 23rd Psalm. I think of how God takes places of uncertainty for us and provides a place of safety. Even in the eye of the storm, there can be peace.
I'm not sure what it is about our human nature that draws us to look beyond. As I sit with patients as they are dying, so often I watch as they stare "beyond," and often times will "reach" for what I cannot see. Our spirit knows that we are created to live beyond. Jesus tells the disciples, "I go to prepare a place for you..."
I'm grateful to know that beyond the field, God has a place for us all.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.