A Field of Yellow
“Yella used to be my favorite colour. Colour of summer. Those yella fields of canola bloomin’ under the June sky.”
I was happy that the man whom I had been assigned to visit seemed to have settled on a relatively safe topic of discussion. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all. Visiting the Seniors’ Home had seemed like a good idea from the safety of our Adult Sunday School classroom. Now that I was actually here, my insides were tied up in a knot from which they might never recover.
“Yellow was your favorite colour,” I said, grasping at conversational straws. “It isn’t any more?”
“Nope. Can’t stand it now,” he replied.
He shot me a piercing look. “Yella has a nasty side to it, if you catch my drift.”
I shook my head, confused.
“You know what boys are like, miss. The first time someone called me Yella it stung somethin’ fierce.”
“Someone called you a coward,” I replied. “That’s terrible.”
“Only thing made it terrible was that it was true!”
“Oh Mr. Wilson,” I hurried to respond. “I’m sure that …”
“Hold your horses, missy,” he interrupted sharply. “You don’t even know me! I might be the most spineless jelly-fish ever took up space on God’s green earth. So don’t go telling me what you’re sure of!”
“I’m sorry,” I stuttered, blushing. So much for a safe topic of conversation.
“Course I’m yella,” he continued, taking no notice my discomfort. “Took me years to admit it even to myself. You wouldn’t believe the idiotic things I did tryin’ to prove to my buddies that I wasn’t yella. Made a real mess of my life tryin’ to be somethin’ I’m not.”
“You sound pretty brave to me,” I muttered.
“Scolding some little slip of thing who’s just about wettin’ herself tryin’ to do some good don’t take much courage.” There was a mischievous grin on his face. “Let me tell you somethin’, young lady,” he continued. “Pretendin’ you’re not afraid ain’t the way to beat fear.”
“What is?” I leaned forward. Fears had plagued me all my life. Bible studies, self-help books, volunteering for service in my church – nothing seemed to help.
“How do you mean?” I asked, skeptical.
“I finally realized I just couldn’t keep it up. I was afraid that if anyone saw what I was really like, fears and all, they wouldn’t be able to love me. They would laugh at me like my old pals or run for the hills. Even God! Can you believe I thought I was foolin’ him with my actin’?” He chuckled to himself. “One day I came to a grindin’ halt right in the middle of one of them fields of yella. My fear was all I could see and I was stuck there.”
“I think I know what you mean.”
“Course you do,” he grinned. “You’re stuck there too, only you ain’t admitted it yet. You still think you can find someway out of that field if you just try hard enough.”
All the things I was doing to try to battle my fears came rushing to the forefront of my mind.
“Don’t be feeling so down, young lady,” Mr. Wilson rebuked gently. “Cause that ain’t the end of the story. When I finally realized that nothin’ I could do would get me out of that field of yella, that’s when I saw Him.”
“Jesus himself, walking through that tangled field as if it were nothin’ but tall grass. He grabbed me by the hand and asked me if I was ready to let Him do the work now. Love meets you where you are, missy. Love takes your hand and walks beside you through that field of yella.”
From the corner of my eye I could see my classmates saying their goodbyes. Was it time to go already?
“You just mind one thing though, missy.”
“What’s that, Mr. Wilson?”
“He ain’t gonna let you stay in that field of yella. He loves you too much for that. But we got to stop floundering around on our own and trust Him. You grasp hold of His hand and you don’t let go for nothin’, you hear me?”
“I hear you,” I said quietly. “May I come and see you again, Mr. Wilson?” I asked shyly.
The smile on his face gave me his answer before he even spoke. “I’m countin’ on it, missy. I’m countin’ on it.”
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