A Hope in a Barren Field

September 14, 2012
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A world full of abyss lies upon the stranger. After long weeks of journey on foot, a spark of juvenile excitement and curiosity zapped his heart upon catching a glimpse of a likely dainty village along the horizon. But as he got nearer and nearer, the particular image of warm welcome escaped the stranger’s mind. Now up close, he saw how wrong his first sighting was. There before him is something a high-standard person would describe as unenlightened and filthy, but to him, what he saw only brought sadness upon his heart.

The man with his modest clothing and his sandals’ soles bearing holes with the long trek he had been through is a man who carries with himself a doctrine of hope and compassion. Walking along the dirt path, he observed his surroundings. Run-down cottages pressed up against one another, shutters were tightly close and almost rotten. He figured that the village had been through a fire because the soil was mixed with ashen remains, black as coal, and dead plants are scattered here and there.

“Vegetation must be scarce in this place. But maybe they have a different area for that? Hm…” he wondered while pinching grain of soil between his fore finger and thumb.

Moving on, the said stranger once again spied that only few of the villagers have risen from their slumber for it was only after dawn when he arrived at the place, he only saw some of the elderly and a couple of adults that are up and about. However, he was surprised to see a little girl in the age of maybe seven or eight crouched near the doorstep of one of the few cottages that were decorated with beaded curtains and trinkets. The girl was holding a small beaten cup its contents unknown. And as the man slowly approached the girl, she eagerly tilted the cup downward and emptied its content unto the ground, it was water. Now greatly confused, he started a hesitant conversation with the girl.

“Good morning.” he greeted.

The girl smiled at him and asked for his name. Startled with the child’s response, he only gave her a brief reply. “Uh, Ezekiel… Yours?”

“My name is Ember. It’s nice to meet you… Eze… Ezekiel.” she responded

“You can call me ‘Zeke’ instead.” Ezekiel told her while smiling reassuringly. With this, the little girl frowned and shook her head. “I think I like Ezekiel better.” she lovingly smiled and added, “My Father used to tell me stories. He also mentioned that Ezekiel was a prophet in the Old Testament. But he’s not here to tell me those stories anymore.” she related while staring off the distance, a far away look in the child's innocent eyes.

“Oh, that’s a shame… Your father sounds like a good man.” Ezekiel replied. “What were you doing with the water by the way?” he asked.

“It's for my seed.” Ember then smiled one last time at the man before her and headed inside the cottage, while Ezekiel was left outside with an expression of pure astonishment in his face. He thought that maybe the village already has its hope and refuge from whatever tragic experience it clearly went through.

And so this man found an inn to stay in and got to know the villagers in the weary place. Although it is a fact that the place was devastating, the people are friendly but at the same time, they lost the passion in their eyes, except Ember, the little girl that he first met upon his arrival at the village. And between the times that he allotted for getting to know the people around him and searching for the solution to bring back life in everyone’s lives, he also got to know Ember and her family. Days and weeks passed and Ezekiel found no lead as to how to help, he didn’t want to give up and so he decided to take a break from his search and took a rest in the inn.

Hours after that, he finally woke up and laughed at himself. “How could I find my solution if I don’t even know the cause of the problem?” he thought. And with that, he got up and wondered around the village until he saw a lone boy near the border of the hamlet. When Ezekiel approached him, he saw that it was the 14-year old Adam and as usual, he has a faraway look in his eyes.

“You must be getting lonely out here by yourself.” Ezekiel remarked while sitting beside Adam.

“I already got used to it after all these years.” Adam replied bitterly.

“What do you mean?” Ezekiel asked.

Adam gave out a humorless laugh and said, “I’m sure you’ve already wondered what happened in this village, yes? Well, it was my fault.”

“I’m sure that is not the case, Adam.” Although he is not sure of it, he didn’t want to make him feel worse about himself. Just as Ezekiel thought that Adam would go back inside the village, he started to tell him about the mystery of the incident that laid upon the village years ago.

“It happened seven years ago and it was a normal day for every one of us. Men worked for their families, their wives cooking lunch for them while their children were playing outside the cottages. Well, except for me.” Adam recounted.

“Go on.” Ezekiel softly urged the boy to continue on his tale.

There they both started their journey back seven years ago.

“Adam, I’m going to buy some spice from the market. Look after the stew, okay?” his mother asked him.

“Yes mother.” He replied

“Good boy. Don’t leave the house while I’m gone.” his mother added and then went away.

Adam was so entranced by the flames that he didn’t hear his cousin approach him. “BOO!” his cousin shouted. Adam jumped from fright and knocked down the quilt from the chair and chased after his rowdy cousin. The quilt caught fire and quickly spread along the cottage and eventually flames licked their neighbor’s roofs until it spread throughout the village. It was too late for everyone to recover their possessions. That same night, Annabel, Adam’s mother, gave birth to a baby girl and she was named Ember.

After the shocking revelation, Ezekiel and Adam parted ways, both of them thinking about the truth that came out of Adam’s mouth. That night, Ezekiel finally learned what he had to do.

The next day, Ezekiel put his plan into action. He gathered the villagers, although they were hesitant and weary at first, they warmed up to him after seeing Ember by his side. He took advantage of this and related to them what was on his mind. He wanted everyone to live their life again, to put passion in the things they do. They concluded that they needed someone to lead them once again and appointed Ezekiel, he didn’t want to step up as their leader for he is only a new comer, but majority of the people think otherwise.

“Did you know why Ember took a liking to your name, Ezekiel?” Annabel asked him when she approached him during their short break from the meeting. Ezekiel shook his head.

Annabel sighed and said, “It means strength of God. Ember and everybody else in this village believes that you will our strength, Ezekiel. Adam finally found his place in this village and he’s finally been accepted by everyone…and it’s because of you. I hope what I told you are enough to accept the position.”

Ezekiel did, and that’s when he saw, their eyes are truly shining with hope. And maybe, just maybe, he could make this work along with the villagers that gave him home.

They worked hard, and worked harder with each new day that came, when someone falls down, there would always be someone to shoulder their fall, when they lose hopes someone refines their exhaustion. The cycle continues and so as they slowly see the changes that they’ve done together, that’s when they knew that there is also hope in a barren field.

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