Sunday, March 25, 2007

Hopes From Bentley Farm Part II

Often the consideration of the question, "What do you have hope for?" brings to mind not a list of bulleted postulates, but a series of snapshot pictures that summarize hopes where words are simply inadequate.

If Isaac's hopes for the future could be painted, I believe that they may be of a similar genre to a scene from one of James Herriot's picture books. The painting shows the morning light just creeping over the hillside with scattered sheep grazing in the distance. A calf stands in the forefront of the picture, safely delivered, and now sucking milk from its mother. Isaac, off to the side, hands still dirtied from the delivery, stands smiling and gathering a few last words with the cow's owner before jumping in his truck to head back home for breakfast and another day of veterinary rounds.

While Isaac heads to work in the fields with the injured and ill cows, we turn a page in the book and find another scene requiring some medical attention. This time the patient is a little doll that a young girl holds for the doctor's attention. Luke plays along, and laughs his hearty laugh, loving his job as a pediatrician (even if it is for dolls).

The picture on the next page just might resemble Hannah or me. A woman sits stiching baby clothes, wearing the smile of the happiest person in the world - she is joyful to be a keeper of the home and hearth and to simply look upon the innocent infant face in the cradle at her feet.

Nate is found sitting with his daughters at his side. His big arms are holding them close. He sits with them like he sits with his sisters now. His office shoes are still on as he has recently arrived home from the office where he was working to meld land conservation efforts with new developments in Dutchess County. But he is most content now with family near.

Caleb, a brave young spokesmen, appears like the central figure in Rockwell's "Freedom of Speech." He speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves, and his particular burden is for the unborn. His lifestyle and words seem so completely convincing.

Oh, and there is Mother and Father. I think that they may be reminiscing. Dad (sans the pipe) still just likes to sit with Mother. They are hoping that the children and grandchildren will soon be home for a big family dinner.

(While we hope and dream and imagine the future of our lives together with expectancy and joy, we understand that insomuch as these are only our hopes and dreams, they are meaningless. Only that which is part of the divine plan is worth our hope, and that is why hope must depend so heavily on trust. Given that this life is temporary, our hope is not an enduring hope unless it extends beyond the fading flower of this present life and into the eternal. So whether in life or in death, we hope for that which is everlasting throughout time and available to all who receive - living in the presence of God.)