Ten Stalks of Wheat

I am 3rd generation Ukrainian Canadian.  I have this in-born love of wheat fields. When I see them I am so moved in my heart that tears will well up. Watching the wind blow through the fields is like standing on the sandy seashore and watching the waves of the ocean roll in and out. The winds move the tops of the wheat stalks and the effect grabs my heart. The first time I was so affected by this beauty was when my father and I had driven to western Canada where we were visiting friends and family.

At one home we visited, the hostess was recently widowed and she asked me to join her when she went to her husband’s grave site later in the day. I agreed to tag along with her. I felt sad for her loss and as she tended to the flowers that she had planted at the gravestone I found myself praying for her.

As I prayed I scanned the cemetery. It was a small country cemetery about ¼ of an acre settled in the midst of wheat fields on the edge of town. When my eyes scanned the horizon, it was a golden ocean of waving wheat stalks. As far as my eye could see, there were no trees just the beautiful wheat moving to the dance of the wind.

My hostess noticed that I was fully embraced in the moment of watching the waves of the wheat. She said, “I know what you would like” and she walked to the edge of the cemetery and pulled up about ten stalks of wheat. She said that she would wrap them for me to take home to put in a vase. I was touched by her thoughtfulness. When she handed them to me, I heard a whisper in my being saying, “It is stolen!” I quietly gasped and struggled. I was surprised by the words I heard. I began to rationalize that she probably has the approval of the local farmer to have some wheat whenever she needs it. I put the message away. I embraced the bouquet she had passed to me. When we got back to her home, we wrapped it in newspaper and placed it in carefully in the trunk of our car.

After a wonderful visit with our friends and family, my father and I headed back home, driving through beautiful wheat fields. The main highway was lined on the sides by so many different types of wheat fields and sunflowers. Some fields grew tall stalked wheat, some were deep honey coloured wheat and some had beards at the top of the stalk. My father caught the look I had when I was so mesmerized by the beauty of the bearded wheat and he suddenly stopped the car, pulling over the side of the highway. I was surprised that he stopped and even more touched that he saw my admiration for the beauty of the wheat fields. He too was taken with the beauty of the ocean of golden waves and we sat for a moment just enjoying the moment. Then I said to him, “Please wait for me. I want to go and get some wheat to take home.” I jumped out of the car and ran over the 25 foot ditch to the side of the wheat field and plucked up about ten stalks of wheat. After shaking off the dirt from the roots, I carefully wrapped it in the newspaper with the other wheat that I had been given.

The rest of the trip was memorable filled with warm memories of time with my father and enjoying the beauty of Canada as we drove home for three days.

When I arrived home, there was much to do because my children were starting school again after two months of summer holidays. With the busyness of attending to their needs, I forgot about the wheat, which I had put it away in the linen closet still wrapped in the newspaper. After about six weeks, when I opened the door to the linen closet my eyes fell on the bouquet wrapped in the newspaper. The thought that came to me was “Lord, why have I left the wheat for so long? Why did I not put it in a vase when I came home?” Immediately I heard a response to my thought saying, “It is stolen,” I gasped. I was taken aback. I felt terrible. I struggled. I prayed and apologized to the Lord. It was the first time I fully realized that I stole the wheat on the highway. When I unwrapped the wheat and placed it in a vase, I admired the bouquet. I truly was enraptured with the beauty of the wheat. After about a week of the bouquet being in our living room, I felt that I should go to confession for the theft. In my heart I was sorry and sought out my confessor. I prayed to make a good confession.

During my face-to-face confession, the priest was so very kind and loving. He was trying to help me see the condition of my heart. After I revealed my story about the wheat, he said to me to “throw out the wheat.” I replied that I could not do that because it was so beautiful. I asked him if I could give it to some else so that they could enjoy its beauty.  He said “no.” I must have looked quite forlorn for then he began to teach me about the root of my sin. He explained that the root was “selfishness” and that I loved the gift of creation more than the Creator. Whoa! I did not know that. I said that I still had a hard time to throw out the wheat and he told me to bring it to him and he would take care of it. When my confession was completed, I went home and collected the bouquet and brought it to my priest and left it with him. I felt that God was calling me to a different place than I had known before.

I spent much time praying and listening to God regarding loving His creation more than loving Him. I began to see that His beautiful gifts of creation were to help me understand that He loved me, and that He loves all His children and provides for them.  I asked God for help to not love His gifts more than Him.

I probably have sinned in this area before this experience; however, it seems that this was my teaching moment from God, my loving Father.

I am learning to thank God for His provision of His gifts to me in a new way. Someone shared with me to start an “attitude of gratitude” journal. In this journal, I write a daily love letter to God telling Him how much I appreciate and love all the things that He has given and provided for me. I do not need to own or possess any of His creations and am coming to realize that, as I need a reminder of His love, He provides.

Copyright 2011 Gloria Winn

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