FAITHFUL LIVING: God prepares our fields of dreams

If you gathered up the remote controls in your home, how many would you have?

A cursory count at the Klope house brings our total to a dozen, the latest remote added this week when we bid goodbye to our wood stove and moved in a remote-controlled propane model. If you happened to have heard a strange, almost chorus-like sound coming from the north end of Whidbey Island, that would have been the Klope family, singing the “Hallelujah Chorus” in response. The thought of never having to gather up another armful of dirty wood and haul it into our house across the family room carpet each morning not only produces tears of relief, but brings on a song all three of my kids say you would not want to endure more than once.

I am especially fond of this new remote because I can set the room temperature I desire and carry it with me into the kitchen, conveniently placing it next to the satellite TV remote that brings me “The Barefoot Contessa” and “Trading Spaces” and a host of old movies. I can feel the warmth from the stove and watch whatever my little heart desires because I am the undisputed queen of this TV and its remote. I can chop and stir and watch Ina Garten mix mint juleps whenever I desire.

Imagine my thrill this week when I decided to channel surf before diving into dinner preparation and I ran across “Field of Dreams,” one of my all-time favorite movies. Released in 1989, it stars Kevin Costner as the restless and regret-filled young Iowa farmer, Ray Kinsella. He bulldozes his prime corn field, builds a lighted baseball field and risks bankruptcy when he decides he can no longer ignore a mysterious voice out in the corn that whispers the promise, “If you build it, they will come.”

Supported by his delightfully quirky wife Annie, played by Amy Madigan, Ray embarks on an adventure that brings him in contact with remarkable people, both living and dead. There is Terrence Mann (James Earl Jones) the reclusive social activist who also hears the voice, as well as a slate of old-time ball players that includes Archie “Doc” Graham (Burt Lancaster) and Shoeless Joe Jackson, played by Ray Liotta.

I can be enticed to watch “Field of Dreams” almost any moment, for I am moved down to my very core every time.

My favorite scenes change from time to time, depending on whatever I am contemplating about my own life. But currently I am partial to the scene where Ray tries to persuade old Doc Graham to visit his Iowa ball field. The conversation begins as Doc reminisces about his one and only time at bat and what it was like to live with the disappointment of being cut from the league after his first professional season.

“We just don’t recognize the most significant events of our lives while they’re happening,” Doc comments, his voice trailing off into thought when he realizes that he might never have become a treasured family physician had he not experienced that significant disappointment in his youth.

Frustrated by such gentle acceptance, Ray’s voice fills with intensity and he asks Doc, “But don’t you think it’s a tragedy to get that close to your dream and not be able to touch it?”

Dreams. Expectations. Disappointments. Goodness knows we all have them. At moments I have felt like Ray Kinsella. Heartbreak! Frustration! Such experiences rebound in my heart and pain my soul. How can this be? Why must this be? I frequently ask God, quietly at times, forcefully at others.

And at those moments when I fear God is not listening, there comes a moment — like the one I experienced this week — when I am assured He is right there, fully aware of my heartfelt struggles and choosing to respond. It came in a verse I read in the book of Jeremiah:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.”

God’s promises transcend everything—including pain, hardship, and suffering — that is assuredly a part of the human experience. And when we take these promises, applying them deeply into our souls, claiming them as our own, and building them into the lives we are creating right here, right now — there is suddenly new reason, justification, comfort and clarity to ALL we experience.

We will struggle. We will suffer to varying degrees. But God’s dependable promise of life experiences filled with hope and joy allows us to step away from the terror and out onto a field of dreams.

Freelance writer Joan Bay Klope’s e-mail address is

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