Fields of Barley, Vol. 8
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Later that same day, Mark ventured to the field next to their modest, but adequate farmhouse to see the sunset and to think things over. Before he and his father made the twelve-hour car trek from Washington State, Mark’s mother sat him down and told him he would be spending the next year—maybe longer—living with Uncle Jack and Aunt Louise. His mom explained how some bad things had happened at daddy’s work and that this meant changes had to be made. Mark wanted to ask questions of his mother, but fear held his tongue. Even the tears rolling down his mother’s cheek failed to evoke more than a remote stare from the boy. After the talk, he quietly went to his bedroom and packed an entire childhood into two suitcases not knowing if he would ever see his bedroom again.
Now the setting sun carried with it the hopes of a child as the darkness matched a sense of dread slowly filling the boy’s heart. The young child looked around, alone, unaware that two onlookers experienced his fear and loneliness as the crisp wind brushed against his face. The elder Mark looked at Anna-Lisa with a tear in his eye, vividly remembering the solitude of that autumn evening.
“Why?” the only question he asked. “As a boy, why was I sent here? Why did I have to leave my mom and dad and come here? Years later I understood the events that lead me here, but why did it have to happen in the first place?” Mark asked.
“You must understand events that hurt must occur to everyone. These hurtful things could be stopped, but they are not. They are allowed to continue for the benefit of all. This is confusing to many, and especially to an eight-year old boy, but this is the way it must be,” Anna-Lisa said in such a way that Mark knew she also felt the pain and despair of this young child. “People have the ability to choose and this most precious gift must forever remain. How they choose and what they choose affect not only their own life, but also countless others. These choices determine all life, all existence.”
In her words Mark found comfort, but not enough to satisfy his deep yearning to understand his life.
He needed more.
He needed more.
The scene changed. The young boy in a field of wheat disappeared. A teenager sitting among other students in a small classroom took his place. As before, emotions rushed in as Mark found himself a teenager again, looking at his classmates.
“Mark, soon you will understand why you were placed to live with your aunt and uncle. As you can see, you are now sitting in a classroom at West Jefferson High School. You’re older, and wiser, and more mature. You see a room full of people, some you knew very well, others only generally. You may not believe it, but every one of these people—as well as people you never met—had their lives forever changed because of the decision made by your mother and father those many years earlier. Some lives changed only slightly, but others…” Anna-Lisa looked at Mark. “For others, the decisions you made affected their lives very much.”
To be continued...
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