Writers Note: This is a short story loosely based on the buddy seat conversations I had with my spiritual mentor. Thank you to those who pour into the lives of others to bring them closer to our Lord, Jesus Christ. May each person find hope in the story shared below:
As the young man waved from the other side of the field, Todd began to gear down the tractor. Coming to a stop, Todd motioned for him to come up the ladder. The young man scampered up the ladder, opening with a jerk the hydraulic powered door and took a seat next to him on the buddy seat. Of all the advancements made in agriculture Todd thought, they could not have made this buddy seat any more comfortable? The question slipped through the cracks as the young man began twisting his sleeves as if something was desperately bugging him.
“Something seems to be bothering you Robbie, may I ask what is wrong?” The young man simply shook his head. Yet, his next statement said it all.
“Why does life have to be so hard?”
Todd knew what the young man needed, he started the engine of the tractor and let it hum as it took them to the start of the next row for planting. Todd sat patiently as the tractor steered itself methodically over the terraces his father had put in years ago.
“I’m just struggling to understand it all. Everything is so confusing, I can’t make any headway and now I feel simply stuck.”
“Hopefully, Robbie, you realize that you are not alone in all of this,” Todd’s face revealed a mix of compassion, but equal exhaustion as they had plowed this conversation a few too many times before, “I had warned you about saying yes, you knew what you had accepted and that it would not be an easy life.” Immediately, Todd regretted the words and wished he could have taken them back. Yet, Robbie appeared undeterred.
“Yes, I knew what I was signing up for, but things have changed a lot since then…,” Robbie’s voice trailed off as his mind seemed in transit towards former years. Todd let the tractor continue planting as they sat in silence, Todd was lost in thought of what next to say.
“There were many who thought my father was insane when he bought this ground fifty years ago,” Todd shared, knowing he was just filling a voiceless void that had previously been owned by deafening silence and the occasional beeps of the planting monitor, “I was too young to fully remember, but I can sense he was nervous too. Nobody had money to really buy land, let alone land that had no real history of productivity.”
“So why did he buy it then?” Robbie asked now being brought out of his trance.
“It was one of those moments when you recognize you have only one chance at something and you honestly believe that another opportunity won’t come again. Then, it was being sold for basically nothing which still didn’t help because our family had nothing.”
“Wow…,” Robbie’s voice trailed off, “I never knew, this land is one of the most productive in the county. How did your father do it?” Robbie was now struck in awe.
“That’s still the mystery Robert!” chuckled Todd, “He never gave up. He saw the potential in this land that no one else could see, yet he didn’t let it sit; he invested his sweat, money, and time to realize that potential. Maybe the same could be said for the struggles you are facing Robbie?” Todd could judge by Robbie’s face he may have taken it too far, but he felt a nudge that this is what needed to be shared.
Robbie became teary eyed, “Todd, you are not wrong. I’m in the midst of the tough spot. I’m truly inspired by your Father’s story, I mean look around, we are planting a double crop in a field that others would never have touched! How do you know what always needs to be shared?”
Todd gave an indiscriminate sign of relief, “I’m not sure Robbie, there’s somebody greater who truly knows what you need to hear. I’m just willing to listen and share,” Todd became filled with compassion for his young friend. Robbie sat there for awhile weeping softly as the planter made its passes through the field.
As Robbie brought himself back to the buddy seat; he glanced over to see Todd studying his expressions, “Thank you Todd, I think it’ll be better now,” this seemed to signal an end to the buddy seat session for this time.
Todd brought the tractor to a stop and allowed Robbie to open the side door, when he stopped to ask, “Is everything okay Robbie?”
Robbie looked back as he exited the side door, “Todd, I did what you said, I stopped and listened. I had done a lot of talking, but I was doing very little listening; only when I quieted my heart could I hear what was there along. God is at work in my trials, my heart is the field he plows and terraces. I want to be a productive servant for him; much as this land has been these past generations for your family. Again, thank you Todd for sharing the hard truths I desperately needed to hear.”
As Robbie moved swiftly down the ladder Todd could not help poking his head out of the back window, “Robbie, never doubt, it takes courage in accepting those truths too!” Robbie looking back gave an accepting nod and took off towards his parked grey car.
Todd settled in for a few more rows before he paused the plow to pray and listen.
How often do we resist the leading to share a hard truth that we know will help someone and offer comfort?
Why do we resist?
Is it for our own safety, is it to protect our secure image?
Would it make our relationship awkward?
What we fail to realize, even in times of our greatest resistance, we need (we crave) for others to be honest with us! Yet, how willing are we to accept that honesty…let alone deliver it?
Delivering truth requires much as our fictional character, Todd, shares; an ability to listen! If our prayer life is only centered on asking or speaking…we are missing on the blessing and wisdom delivered in the silence of listening. It is only when I have quieted my heart that God moves in my soul and mind.
When I minister to others; how much more should I be in a posture of listening? Not only do I need to be in a posture of listening to the Lord, but my heart and mind should be present and attentive to the openings of the person in front of me. All of us are bearing burdens…we alone are not equipped to absorb those burdens, but we can be the intermediary vessel through which the spirit can work on the life of that person.
Again, I ask, what prevents us from being the comforter for those around us?
I challenge each of us to be open and humble in loving unconditionally as the Lord does for us!
Be encouraged and strengthened my friends; as always thanks for reading and sharing!
Take care, Anthony