I set aside my usual humorous musings to offer you a different perspective to my writings. In between smiles and laughter we all know there are times when these emotions elude us. My story here is a parable of being forgotten. How does one’s lips convey that which the heart yearns to say?
It was a lonely existence out on the prairie. It was never more so than today, the news had left them reeling. The country doctor in town had just told them that after several years of trying to have a baby, they would never have children. Being farmers, bad news was not new to them, but this? This news was devastating. Who would one day run the family farm? Who would look after them in their old age? The news was more than this young couple could bear. They pleaded with the doctor for hope. Since it took place prior to all the medical breakthroughs of today, the doctor simply told the couple, “If you do get pregnant, it will only be because God truly wants you to have a child. The odds are a million to one.”
For the next 18 years, the husband and wife prayed and held out for a miracle. The farm prospered but it was in desperate need of a little child to appreciate it and take care of it. Ever on their lips, their prayers continued until, THE miracle. On a farm equipment trip to Lincoln, it was discovered after a bout with sickness, that the family unit would soon be complete.
On that appointed day, a child became the center of their lives. The father and son became inseparable. The boy drove tractors with his dad, fished with his dad, pitched in with his mom on the church picnics, and even when he broke his arm at his favorite swimming hole, his dad spared him his chores and a stern lecture for his negligence. Many a night the boy would spend on the front porch excitedly talking about what he would do when he was old enough to run the farm.
No one in the family could remember when it happened. Blaming it on getting older, the once frequent walks in the field with his dad, or the silly conversations with his mom lessened and lessened, to the point of being non-existent by the time he chose to forgo farming and try his luck at college. Being the first one in the family to have this opportunity, the family placed a second mortgage on the family farm. The all too infrequent letters to Mom and Dad that did arrive were read and reread. The underlying message appeared to be the same, the son was too busy with his new life to be concerned about what happened at home on the farm, besides there was always another bill he had that needed attention.
His last correspondence promised a return visit to the homestead during the Christmas holiday break, but this had made the third time he made a promise he would later break. Aside from an occasional telegram telling them he was alright, the “miracle” in their life had now faded from the scene like an autumn leaf floating to the ground. They had been forgotten. As they sat looking at another season of unopened presents under the tree, their sad eyes recognized what their hearts had tried to tell them, he’s never coming home. As the cycle of seasons rolled along it became the central theme of their late night pillow talk. Do we own the farm or does it own us? One crisp autumn day stooped from the rigors of filling an old barn with hay, their hearts confirmed what their head had been whispering. It’s time to let it go. They contacted a reputable title company and placed the farm up for auction.
Word spread far and wide about the large parcel of land for sale. Pristine and well developed, it would garner the highest bid the county would ever see. It was a brisk Saturday morning long after the final harvest had been placed safely away in the barns and silo. The family was stunned to see so many friends and well wishers gather on the courthouse steps to see just how high the bidding would go.
The atmosphere was electric as the price continued to climb. The couple throughout the proceedings scanned the crowd to see the one face they had missed for so long, their son. They had sent him a telegram notice of the sale but they had never heard a response. The wavering feelings of regret for selling the homestead was punctuated by the quiet promises the farmer whispered softly into his wife’s ear that they would have a small house of their dreams in a warmer place. “Maybe near the ocean”, he faintly smiled.
As abruptly as it started, the gavel dropped suddenly and the shout of “SOLD” was heard. A gasp shot through the crowd, the sale had been high indeed. An era had passed without the faintest glimmer of the son everyone knew had gone away. It was then that a commotion stirred in the back of the gathering. A frantic voice could be heard over the din of the crowd. “What are you doing, where are my parents?” The face of an anxious man in his late 20’s came to the forefront. “Mom, Dad, why would you sell the homestead without asking me if I wanted it?” “Son, we already gave you your portion of the farm with our second mortgage; it gave you an education. “But I wanted it”, he protested. The father replied, “It had been so long since you’ve called or come home to spend any time with us, we thought you had forgotten us. In fact, the only time you even sent us a telegram was when you wanted something of us.”
The son’s anger turned to stunned belief as the father said painfully, “Son, if you had simply returned the love we have for you, with a visit or a call, you would have been the recipient of it all.”
Now back at home, the mother tenderly looking at her child said, “the most difficult thing about getting old is you lose the gift of feeling wanted and needed. People no longer seek your advice, friends become isolated, the most painful part is when your children become too busy to remember the important things in life; like family. I can’t tell you how many nights and seasons your father and I sat on this front porch and simply talked about you.”
It was now quiet save the sounds of the wind chimes that were barely audible. The son sat looking over the fields lost in thought for one final night. The memories of the farm flooded his senses. The smell of fresh cut grass, the squeak of the antique wind mill near the front gate, the occasional mooing of cattle on the back forty reignited his original love of this place.
Seeing the conflicting emotions on their son’s face, the father broke the silence with a voice almost in a whisper. “We have given you the best we have with no regrets, unconditional love keeps no score. You may have forgotten us, but you can take heart that we could never forget you.”
Is there someone in your life that you have lost connection, a child, parent, friend, God? Maybe that someone never got over losing you. True love is never forgotten, reconnect!