I am going with him to the prairie. In the quiet of my heart I am sad. I came here seventeen years ago. Sixteen years old, kind of beat up by life. My sister and her husband said I could stay with them. They had seven kids and their house was small but they made a place for me.
I don’t remember too much about that first winter, only that it rained a lot and I slept a lot. My soul was tired. And my sister and I talked a lot and I washed a lot of dishes. The rain pitter- pattered on the roof at night, the moss grew on the fir trees, I laughed at her babies, I made new friends.
Some where along the way I started to pray during the night. Not just the Lord’s prayer, but really pray. I was afraid because I knew I had sinned- a lot. My sister would tell me that it was good I was worried about it, that meant that God was showing me something. Keep praying, keep reading, he wouldn’t have shown me my hearts condition if he wasn’t going to do something about it.
So I did. One night I felt especially desperate and I read in Luke,”FEAR NOT, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you His kingdom.” God gave me faith to believe that I was part of that flock. I was so comforted! I knew the road might be tough but I knew God was going to be with me. I knew I didn’t need to struggle anymore.
After that the word became so precious. “Every promise in the Book is mine! Every chapter, every verse, every line!” I read and read and I grew and grew in that little house under the fir trees.
The first time I went back to the east coast my sister told me to make sure I was wearing the full armor of God. She showed me the verses and I wrote them down.
“….be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armour of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness in this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breast plate of righteousness,
and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace,
taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.
Praying always in your spirit…..”
I still have that paper folded up in my wallet. When I was there in my home town the things that were destroying my life were presented to me. “Come on! For old times sake,” they said. “Just one more time!” My voice may have shook but my heart never wavered. I can honestly say that I have never looked back. I shudder when I think of what could have been. “He has brought me out of darkness into his marvelous light” and I love it here.
One of my new friends had blue eyes, big muscles and pretty white teethe. He had moved out here to the Pacific North West from South Dakota. We liked to hike together through the evergreen woods. We talked and talked. He made me laugh. He prayed for me out loud. Sometimes we sang, just us two, sitting on a mossy rock, under the firs and cedars and pines. He has a beautiful voice, I just sing along.
When he asked me to marry him, well, I just had to say yes. Everyone told me that the boys from the mid-west always go back. I made him promise me he wouldn’t move back for at least ten years-just in case. He gave me his word. The ten years are long past and I am going with him to the prairie.
Oh, my earthy evergreen forests! So old and strong. I have grown into a women, beneath your whispering boughs. When I was young and madly in love I lightly skipped along, breathing in your clean scent. Feeling as though nothing could be wrong in all the world.
In later years as a Mama I have brought my little ones along. They have skipped ahead and left me to the clean, quiet stillness that has spoken peace to my soul. On other days when I have felt frazzled and anxious. I have sat in the sun dappled shade and watched them play and climb. I have leaned against a strong trunk and breathed in the earthy fragrant forest and I go home calm and relaxed.
How can I ever exchange your stately ancient beauty and strength for grass? Grass and wind. How can wind and waving grass ever make me feel anchored? Blue eyes tells me I will learn to love the prairie. But will I? These woods are like a temple where I breath in God.
This morning I sob on his shoulder. He cries too and tells me that he will bring me to the forest sometime. It’s a six to eight hour drive to the nearest forest. Sometime this week I will go for the last time for a walk in the evergreen forest, my boy’s woods. I will try to etch the smell and feeling into my mind and heart so I will never forget.
God will be with me there. And perhaps some day Blue eyes will teach me to love his prairie. But this morning I am sad.