One day an image came directly to me. It just showed up at the door of my mind, knocked politely and asked if it could come in.
What could I do? I said even more politely, “Why, of course. Please do. Would you care for some tea?”
“Why, I don’t mind if I do.”
So while it was getting more comfortable I put the kettle on to boil. I’m sort of known as the Pillow Nazi in my house. I don’t like people to squish the pillows that live on my furniture. I remember one time someone was visiting and took one of my favorite pillows and squished it without compassion in the small of her back. Son Ethan looked at me with horror written all over his face. But I just smiled as if to say, “It’s okay.”
And that’s how I behaved with this image. “Please make yourself comfortable. Yes, you may use the pillows.”
And so the image did.
As we were sipping our Earl Grey tea with a little milk and a hint of honey, the image graciously presented itself to me.
It’s a long, wiggly dirt road in the country on a warm and sunny day. The sun is smiling while wearing sunglasses. It’s warmth reaches down with long, soft fingers, tickling everyone and everything in its path. It’s smile is contagious.
The sounds of grasshoppers pole vaulting from one blade of grass to another bring back memories of my childhood. I didn’t like grasshoppers hopping on me, but I loved to watch them perform their Olympic sport with amazing agility and grace. It was only rivaled by the sight of Daddy Long Legged spiders lifting their toothpick-thin stilt legs up and down as they move. Both are part of a rhythmic ballet God created when he created our world.
Sweet tasting and pretty purple thistle flowers dot the landscape. Be careful when picking their flowers. Thistles can hurt, but it’s worth the risk to hold that purple in your hands. Fields of sunflowers wave in the sticky summer breeze. Ethereal angel-haired creations line the ditches, waiting to become part of a beautiful flower arrangement or exist just to be admired. Sometimes in the wind I can almost hear angels singing. Not a full fledged cantata, but a simple, joy-filled melody. That’s when I lift my face to the sun, drinking in the paths of warmth as they encircle me.
Ah, summer. Dirt roads with dust trails. From a distance a lone car travels down the road, kicking up a dust trail so long I can’t see the end. And that’s what the image wants me to see. A long road that curves and bends and loopy-loops up and down the hilly country roads.
What’s beyond that hill? Who lives there? Do they have children? A dog? Barn yard cats? Is fresh milk sitting on the back porch. Are slabs of homemade bread sitting on practical plates awaiting homemade preserves and peanut butter? Do flies polka-dot the landscape? Do they buzz shamelessly with gossip? Do the crickets only sing at night?
Why do carrots grow beneath the ground? Are they too shy to travel above the earth? And what about earth worms? Do they have to eat dirt to get where they are going? Or can they move in another way? Why do they live underground only rising to the surface when it rains? And when it rains do they feel fear or are they clueless?
And how much are we like earthworms? Traveling through this world, eating dirt just to survive? Here’s where the image changes. It stops. I see them. People sitting along the road. Stopped. Stuck. Not enjoying the view. Not looking to the next hill. Not seeing that there’s a whole world all around them just waiting for them to show up and participate.
But something has stopped them. They don’t even know they’re not moving. They think they are, but all they’re doing is eating dirt and not getting anywhere fast. They think they live in the light, but they are surrounded by darkness.
The image drinks the last of its tea and stands up. “Help them,” it says as it starts to leave.
“Tell them about God. Without Him, they will never go anywhere. He is the light who destroys darkness.”
The image smiles at me patiently. Pats me on the head as if I’m a child. Then I realize the answer. Do you?
Kathy Yoder is a devotional writer. She may be reached at [email protected]