Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: ANGELS WATCHING OVER ME (don’t write about the song) (06/04/15)
- TITLE: Heavenly Hay Field
By Cindy Duncan
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The rain was coming, and I was out of options.
The hay had to be gotten out of the field. I had no young strong helpers available, and for that matter, no old weak ones were volunteering to help either. I was going to have to do it alone.
I started this hay business two years ago. It had not been easy, but God had used it to provide for our every need. My two youngest children, who were teenagers at the time, worked for me when they were out of school. My son helped load the hay onto the trailers, while my daughter drove the truck. It was a tough first job for them, but it brought us all closer together, as hard work often does. This particular day, though, they were in school, and I was on my own.
When I arrived at the field, the temperature was already in the nineties, along with the stifling humidity that usually precedes thunderstorms. The hay was already raked into nice, neat rows, and as I drove the tractor over these rows, the baler picked up the hay and spit out rectangular bales already tied with twine. This was the fun part of the job. There is nothing like driving a tractor around a fifty-acre field, all alone, to give a man time to think about his life.
I thought about my family, and all we had been through lately. Was I working them too hard with this business? They had, after all, jokingly named it Hell’s Bales. At least I think they were joking. I thought about the little church I had pastored for the last ten years. Would they be better off with a different leader? Had ten years with me been enough?
As I drove the tractor around the field, I began to feel a slight dizziness, but just attributed it to motion sickness, or the heat of the sun beating down on me. So I pressed on, finishing the baling as I heard thunder rumbling in the distance.
With the baling completed, it was time to get the hay out of the field. This was the part of the job that reminded me that at fifty-two years old, I wasn’t the man I used to be. I had to load the bales onto my trailer by hand, and it was back breaking work. After loading for just an hour or so, I began to feel extremely weak. I had not had time for breakfast, just grabbing a glass of iced tea instead. I thought of my youngest son, who was always warning me of the dangers of dehydration. Was this my problem?
My head was pounding. I have headaches often, but this one was different. I decided to walk back to the truck and rest for just a minute before finishing up. After taking only three steps, my legs collapsed. Now it was time to panic.
I called my wife, and amazingly, the call went through. This particular field was in the middle of nowhere, and there were few places on it where my phone had service. I just happened to have collapsed in one of them.
My wife heard the anxiety in my voice, but she couldn’t help me. She had no idea where I was, and even if she had, I was at least an hour and a half away. She convinced me to hang up and dial 911.
As I was on the line with the 911 operator, I began losing control of my hands. They started to draw up and stiffen. The phone fell to the ground, and I was helpless to reach down and get it. I had not yet given the operator my location, and I began to consider the possibility that I might die in this hay field.
My first thought was for my family, and how I would hate to leave them alone. Then it occurred to me that I might be about to see in person what I had been preaching about all these years. Even while struggling to breathe, the thought of seeing Jesus comforted me. I didn’t feel alone in the field anymore; I felt a heavenly presence that defied explanation. Then, as I prayed for God’s will to be done, I heard the sirens in the distance.
Based on a true story.
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