Fields of Poppies

In the Wizard of Oz, there is a scene where Dorothy and her traveling companions find themselves in what turns out to be an inebriating field of poppies. We the viewer/reader know that this mysterious field is a trap set by the Wicked Witch of the West, but to Dorothy it's a lovely place for a snooze. Yet Dorothy is on a quest. It's no time for a nap. The Tin Man and the Scarecrow, in their non-drug-induced state, recognize that the field is a distraction. It's distracting Dorothy from her true focus--to get home to Kansas.

But the thing about the field of poppies is that it is so alluring. You've already been on such a long journey, and you truly are very tired. It's beautiful. Why not take a little break? You deserve it, don't you?

Of late, I have found myself nestled deep in that field of poppies. The field was so alluring and dreamland so easy to slip into. But in the last few weeks dreams have become more fitful and restful sleep harder to come by. It has been over four weeks since I received my medical clearance from the Peace Corps. The first few weeks passed with excitement and anticipation, but with each passing day that excitement wanes and discouragement sets in. Not knowing when exactly I am leaving or where exactly I am going, it is hard to keep focused on why I am choosing to go. It is hard to focus on my desire to go, see, touch, learn from and hopefully help those living in extreme poverty. It is hard to focus on the commitment I've made to pursuing social justice. It is hard to have faith in the call that God has given.

Often I find my mind wandering to the jars of clay Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 4. Paul says that we are "perplexed but not in despair." Perplexed? Yes, I am perplexed. Sometimes I wonder if I am in despair. But I think that perplexed is a more apt description. Perplexed because I simply don't understand why I don't know the when and the where yet. Perplexed because the whole process has taken over a year now and is still not complete. Perplexed because the long spaces in between the forward movement are very long.

Yet the yellow brick road still wonders on ahead of me, and it is important to keep engaged with God and His Church. The field of poppies has its allurements, but it is the forward path of the brick road that leads to greater hope, truth and fulfillment.