Into the Broad Place: Reflections on a Life Unfolding

Photo by Jared Moore

He was sitting on the aluminum his hat cocked like he’d scratched head and forgot to set it straight. He and his Daddy sat on the bleachers in the shade of the announcer’s booth watching his little brother on the football field. 

He smiled down as I walked up. A momma never tires of seeing her babies.

His daily uniform, besides the farmer’s hat, is a PFG, a lightweight nylon shirt that dries quickly, jeans, and a pair of boots. His shirt was beige but usually he wears a color, yellow or blue. His tan is deep and his boots are dirty. The heels of his boots were clumped in Delta dirt he carried over from the rain-blessed fields he walked during the day.

One farmer over in farm country calls him a “factory-made” boy. He didn’t grow up straddling a tractor with his head turned watching a disc slice open the earth. He has never been responsible for helping get in the rice crop, to feed the world. 

He grew up in town and played in fields tall with sage grass. We lived on the city boundary line, tucked in a quiet neighborhood next to a lot overgrown with sumac. The boys and their friends slipped out of the house and disappeared through the sumac and into the field. I saw hide nor hair of them for hours. I knew they would come in eventually.

The road made a hard right at the house. For some reason they had made a big circle of pavement there, a semi cul-de-sac. Jared grew up in town, not far from the Country Club. The closest thing to farming he ever did was mowing the yard.

Now he lives in a rental house out in the country near the place I call home. He spends his afternoons throwing dummies for his retrievers, Drake and Echo.

He rises early, crawls in his big red truck, and drives just over an hour to his summer job in the fields. He is there when the sun rises on the soy beans sprouting late because of the spring rains, the corn twice his height that steals the air from his lungs as he walks between the stalks, and the serpentined rice fields green as Ireland, growing seeds and snakes.

Back in the spring, when his high school friends were turning their tassels and reaching out for their bachelor degrees, Jared felt the pangs of regret. He had only hit his stride the past two semesters, walked through a couple of valleys before life leveled out to walk in the broad place under the open sky of the Delta.

Sometimes he goes to fields alone but there is One who walks those fields with him. He led him there to work as intern this summer. Jared knows it. Every day he is grateful.

Jared is a loyal man. Those who find him a friend or co-worker know this. He will walk the extra mile for you. If I had a thousand acres planted on some of the richest farmland in America, I would want that man walking my fields looking for bugs and fungus and checking on test plots. He is going to do what you ask him and maybe more, especially if you give him a pat on the back. And he’s going to come in grinning because no matter how hard it is, he has found joy and he can see the light shining on the future. 

I don’t know if Jared could sit down and speak with any theological authority on the subject of grace but he knows it. He knows what is like to be given what you don’t deserve, to walk in a kingdom that isn’t his kingdom---at least it wasn’t. Someone opened that door for him. That Someone looked like a man, but really it was God.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:5-13, ESV)

I wobbled, bulging and weary, in the heat of late July waiting on him to breath earth’s air. My water broke early in the morning. We didn’t rush to the hospital. I needed to wash his sister’s hair so she’d be cute in the pictures. He took his time and entered the world late in the evening.

Tomorrow marks the day on the calendar when the boy who grew up being called Bear came wailing into this world.

Now that he’s a man, he goes by Jared. I can’t help it. I always call him Bear.

Luke, Jeff and Jared---A Few Good Men

If you didn’t read Ann Voskamp’s, “A Prayer for Sons” on {in} this week, you can read it here. It beats with the heartbeat of the prayers I pray for both my boys—for Jared and Luke, and all our sons. Yes, Ann, “let there still be a few good men…”

Linking with Emily and Jennifer:



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