He picked up the bone muddied with wear, “Is this wood?”
“No buddy, that’s from a cow, probably his leg. But it sort of looks like wood after being out all this time in the weather.”
“I sure wouldn’t want wood in my body, mom.” I agreed and we wandered through a conversation about historical artificial legs made from wood.
The wind whipped our faces, a reminder that the day wasn’t as harmless as the sky led us to believe.
Our feet crunched on the gravel road as we picked our way back from the hay barn to the main farmhouse. As boys are prone to do, he discovered another interesting artifact largely obscured by the clover. He held it up proudly for my inspection.
“Set that down. It’s sharp and rusty metal, we don’t want to have to go in for a tetanus shot.”
It’s rare this time, just he and I. One brother was feeding cattle with daddy on the tractor. Sister was settled into grandmother’s art studio over the hay. We talked about the time daddy had to get a tetanus shot in the emergency room and about where we might find the crayons to make a picture and about all the clovers that peppered the cold acreage.
The children had danced in all day with fistfuls of clover flowers which began to overfill the little glass we used for a vase.
Grandfather happened by on the four-wheeler, and as his offer was a ride to feed the cattle, I lost out and found myself making the last leg of the journey alone.
There was a bi-plane in the distance. Wind you could hear blowing through the trees. A cow mooing.
Alone feels good here. Restorative.
I had a call on Friday that unsettled me. I sat with the unknown and found tears leaking out late into the night. I thought I’d be more scared of the quiet, but here I stood craving it.
I heard his refrain, “I wouldn’t want wood in my body.” I imagined I wouldn’t either though I’ve certainly settled for a heart of stone, head full of nonsense and eating trash. But wood?
I imagined those men of old, losing a leg to war or disease, and grateful for the wooden part fashioned to help them balance and walk. And I could hear Jesus saying to those listening to Him speak, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me…” (Mark 8:34) I wonder if there’s not some balance that worn old cross would give my life if I took up that wood and followed Him wherever He set out each morning? I wonder if the longer I took up that cross if my bones might begin to look more like wood too? If someone wandering by might look over and say, “is this wood?,” and I could reply with eyes dancing, “Yes, yes it’s the cross.”
I don’t know about a body full of wood, but a body relying on the old wood of the cross might be exactly what we should crave.