There’s a little field that I drive by almost everyday. It’s framed by an old gray fence and a gravel drive, it’s pretty, but it’s not unlike any of the others around it. Nothing about it ever set it apart from any of its neighbors. Until today. Today, on a little hill in the middle of the field, there are two empty chairs.
It’s a funny thing about chairs; they hold a little bit of a story. Today for the first time that field was different than the rest, today those chairs added a little bit of personality that made me wonder about the tales they’d have to tell. Were they placed there to watch children play, or horses run? Do they hold the smiles and tears of love, or the laughter and stories of old friends? Somehow it makes me smile that they were left there. Maybe their guests will be back; maybe their story isn’t quite done. Maybe when the playing, or the visiting was over, it was just too late to take them in, so they sat there empty all night, holding onto the shadows of the day before.
Today that field has changed, today it holds a memory. Those chairs tell us, that at least for a little while, nothing at all was more important than just sitting. Maybe it was a conversation years in the making, maybe there was no talking at all.
So I drive by, and my mind wanders back to a couple of chairs sitting on the porch of a little red farm house, and the few short months that nothing in the world was more important than just sitting, and talking. Time has passed, and in hindsight those days, sitting in those chairs, are some of my most cherished memories.
We spent so many hours in those chairs. In the spring we watched a doe and her two fawns play on the hill across the road. And as the summer sun grew warmer we watched the hummingbirds buzz by and the flowers bloom. I smiled as Grandpa and Grandma watched grandkids play in the puddles and a seven year old show off his lawn mowing skills.
We shared stories and memories, and I wish I could remember every word. We had coffee in the warm early morning sun, waved at neighbors as they drove by, and we laughed every chance we got. When darkness came we watched the stars twinkle and wondered in silence what lay beyond in that endless night sky.
That summer I watched the strongest man I’ve ever known smile with pride when a tiny little girl climbed up on his lap and said, “hi Grandpa”, and I prayed that she’d remember sitting there with him.
By the time fall came our chairs were empty, the seasons of life had changed.
What would I see if I were to drive by that little house today? Are there still chairs on that porch? Are they filled with the laughter of someone else? Do they know how important that moment is? Can they still feel our shadows?
Today those empty chairs in that pretty little field hit me hard and I take a deep breath. I fight back the tear that is forcing its way to the surface of my day, and I think about how much I would give for just one more day of sitting with my Dad on that front porch; one more day of stories and memories. As for the keepers of those chairs, whoever they may be, I hope their story isn’t over. I hope they come back and sit, talk, listen, laugh, cry, and realize that it just might be one of the most important things they’ve ever done.