Stillness in the Field





Wheels of baled hay bask in October sun:
Gold circles strewn across the sloping field,
They seem arranged as if each one
Has found its place; together they appeal
To some glimpsed order in my mind
Preceding my chance pausing here —
A randomness that also seems designed.
Gold circles strewn across the sloping field
Evoke a silence deep as my deep fear
Of emptiness; I feel the scene requires
A listener who can respond with words, yet who
Prolongs the silence that I still desire,
Relieved as clacking crows come flashing through,
Whose blackness shows chance radiance of fire.
Yet stillness in the field remains for everyone:
Wheels of baled hay bask in October sun.
~Robert Pack “Baled Hay”


Each day I am called to see and listen,
to open fully to all that is around me.
From the simple stillness of the fields
surrounding our farm,
to the weeping of those who sit with me
day after day
in their deep fear of emptiness,
their struggle with whether to try to live
or give up and die.

Their profound emptiness renders me silent;
I struggle to respond with words
that offer up healing,
assuring them even in the darkest time
hope lies waiting, radiant as fire,
to bear us silently to a new morning,
to a stillness borne of grace.




4 thoughts on “Stillness in the Field

  1. Sharing that transition space with someone who is facing the imminent death of a loved one
    is a sacred privilege. At the time, we normally do not think of it within that context. We are too
    occupied in wondering what we can say that will acknowledge and perhaps alleviate their
    grief in having to ‘let go.’
    Consider that it is not WHAT we say but what we DO NOT SAY. That is: SILENCE.
    The silence enables us to move aside, to be a conduit to allow the Holy Spirit to be the
    unseen presence. We can then be a visual ‘presence,’ letting the mourning person
    (and the dying person) know and feel that they are not alone, in a physical sense.
    A brief meeting of our eyes, a light touch to the hand or shoulder says more than a
    torrent of words that will soon be forgotten (if recalled at all). These physical actions
    present a wordless ‘connectedness’ that says “I am here with you to share in your pain;
    you are not alone.”
    Then, we just stand by and let the Holy Spirit, the Compassionate One, the Great Healer,
    the Promised One, do what the Spirit does best.


  2. Dear Emily, such beautiful words to capture the sense of the hope that is within us. As a physician, I am certain you have experienced the emptiness of some, and the desire that they know the hope of new life that we, as Christians share. Were it not for this, the hope of the resurrection, I would be among those who are facing death in a state of emptiness. I praise and thank God that HIs grace has kept me alive these many years in which I felt no hope, so that I have come to know Him and the promise of eternal life. I pray for many blessings from God for all that you share here, on your blog.

    In His Love,


  3. Thank you for that final line, “To a stillness borne of grace.” It is so beautiful, and describes so perfectly the peace that God gives me as I live in a sinful world.


  4. According to a Native American legend–Iroquois, if I remember correctly– the crow bears our soul to heaven. One of Barnstorming’s best!


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