Monday, December 14, 2015

Why Are We Here?

     As we drove up to our farm yesterday to  wrestle our new (old) sickle bar mower off the truck and into the shed,  we passed the now empty house next door.  Apparently the folks who had rented it have moved.  We  only knew two of the children, who would stop by the farm whenever we were there, to play with the lambs,  follow us around as we did chores, or play with our youngest son.   Most of the time, this was no big deal - kids are kids.  However, I admit to sometimes thinking, "why don't they ever stay home?"
     One day sticks out in my memory.  We drove up and the one child was standing at the corner of the fence to the front pasture.  They were very good about minding the rule - "no playing at the farm unless we are there."  The child was wearing their backpack and waiting.  I looked at my husband and rolled my eyes,  and may have actually said, "Why do they not stay home sometimes."  We pulled in and the child came down to the barn asking if they could  stay at the farm until the police left their house.  We said yes, and were told the police were helping the child's mother with some sort of dispute over her business.  The child said they did not like the police.  I said the standard parental type thing about police helping us, and how they were there whenever there was a problem - they were the good guys.  The child replied that they did not like the police because the last time they came,  the police took them to the hospital in handcuffs.  (This child suffered from mental illness.)
     Talk about feeling guilty!  This young person, who had been through a lot more horrific things in their life than I had ever dreamed of, came to us and the farm for solace, and a safe place to be;  to forget for an hour or so all the hard realities of their life, and just feed the sheep, or  run in the field with our son, or tag along with my husband and I, talking about their day, or their family, or anything.  And I had selfishly wished they had stayed home.
     It's funny how sometimes we are put in a place for a reason, which may not be apparent to us at the time, but really teaches us something over the long term.  I hope that for the year or so they lived near us, the child did  find a safe place at our farm.  I hope, for a little while, they were able to forget the hard parts of their life, and just laugh while playing with the lambs, or playing superheroes with our son in the pasture.
    As we drive by the empty house next door, I find myself wondering if they have stayed in town or are off to a new place.  I hope they continue to find the people and places that make them feel safe.   I hope I remember the lesson I learned from this child - that I am and always have been blessed with a loving family, stability, security,  and if I can give this to a child who needs it, the inconvenience of not having my own "quiet time" at the farm is a small price to pay.
PS:  Tonight, when you hit your knees, please include this child and all those like them, in your prayers! Thanks

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