Monday, September 9, 2013

The Farmers Son

 I began this post on June 18, 2013.
3 days after our oldest son had graduated from High School. 
I didn't finish it because I wanted to take pictures of my farmers hands. 
The Father and the Son. . .
I was going to post it on Elijah's birthday;
the day he left for the United States Marine Corp.
Instead, I read it at his funeral. 


I used to hold his hand while he was asleep. His hands, though small, were strong and beautiful. And they mesmerized me. This red headed child who saw the world through a different lens.
His hands would one day grow to be like his father's I was sure.
His daddy's hands are big and strong. Yet gentle and loving. 
Hands in this family are memorable
They are the hands of generations of farmers.
 Grown thick and calloused from outdoor use. Yet gentle enough to cradle new born babies, coax an unwilling calf to drink and wrap around his wife at the end of a long day.

 Daddy's Hands was sung at Gary's father's funeral.
Hands are memorable.

And the son, grew into a man.

It seems over night.

His hands grew too. Big and strong like his father. Though not so steady and gentle yet. The red hair permeates his thoughts still and he can be harsh and brazen.

Yet, there are moments, that take me by surprise and send hope surging.

That son, has graduated from High School. His choices his own. He enlists in the Marines. He is looking for action and more than what this rural town and country life can offer him. He longs for adventure and to escape the confines of this place he calls home.

And I let him go. I sign papers in the fall because he is not yet 18. These are his choices. 
I have raised him to be independent; though he was born strong.
 He resisted his entrance into this world with all he had. 
Literally weeks of trying to entice his passage from the womb. It was to no avail. 
He needed to be forced into the light of this journey.
 Razor sharp. . .me left with scars. . .

And now I wonder, what scars will he incur as time marches on and his enlistment date approaches?How do you celebrate your sons 18th birthday as he leaves on that birth date for the 
United States Marine Corps?
The milestones are to be celebrated. Marked. . .
Here I raise my Ebenezer. . .

We marked this occasion of his 18th birthday and leave date with tears, and praise songs;
remembrances and heartache. 
And today, 6 weeks after he left us so suddenly, my heart is broken in pieces.
I wait and look to the LORD to put those pieces of my heart back together in His way. 

You can feel fall in the air.
I went outside to begin picking up the scraps of bark and wood.
Pieces left from the generosity of God's people. 

To Praise God for the stacked wood. 

We were visited by athletic teams from the High School.
Young men who had played hard the day before and won their first game of the season.
Some of the young men, had played side by side with Elijah on the Lacrosse field, team mates. . .
And they came to spend their Sunday, with their sore muscles and tired bodies. . .
stacking our wood. 
Wood that will allow my farmer and his only earthly son to spend time together, wood that will allow us to be warm in the cold winter days to come.  
This extravagant gift has left me undone. 

Elijah, you were taken too soon. I yearn for you with every cell in my body.
I think of your hands and the hard work you and daddy did.
And I praise God for 17 and a half years. 
And we will carry on. 
We will live what days we have left serving and giving back to this land. 
Thank you for your sacrifice of work and your willingness to serve this country.

Isaiah 64:8
Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.


  1. My father's hands...short and stubby but wide and oh so strong. A farmer most of his life. One finger gone...caught in a power-take-off. He looked to the sky every morning, tipped his hat and went to work. I understand the tip now.
    Brenda Boutin
    Sent the invitation to Emma through my pastor.


  3. I remember being there once when Gary and Elijah were cauterizing the horns of the calves. They showed such tenderness even in the midst of a distressing task. Farm work offers the sweet grace of tying up father and sons in cords of work and joy.