Summary: I believe that if we look at this episode in the life of John the Baptist which centers on his uncertainty about Jesus Christ, we will discover how we can love those people in our lives who are also uncertain.
LOVING THE UNCERTAIN
INTRODUCTION… “We Understand So Little” Book of Virtues pages 774-775
Once there were two young brothers who had spent all their lives in the city, and had never even seen a field or pasture. So one day they decided to take a trip into the countryside. As they were walking along, they spied a farmer plowing, and were puzzled about what he was doing.
“What kind of behavior is this?” they asked themselves. “This fellow marches back and forth all day, scarring the earth with long ditches. Why should anyone destroy such a pretty meadow like that?” Later in the afternoon they passed the same place again, and this time they saw the farmer sowing grains of wheat in the furrows.
“Now what’s he doing?” they asked themselves. “He must be a madman. He’s taking perfectly good wheat and tossing it into these ditches!” “The country is no place for me,” said one of the brothers. “The people here act as if they had no sense. I’m going home.” And he went back to the city.
But the second brother stayed in the country, and a few weeks later saw a wonderful change. Fresh green shoots began to cover the field with a lushness he had never imagined. He quickly wrote to his brother and told him to hurry back to see the miraculous growth. So his brother returned from the city, and he too was amazed at the change. As the days passed they saw the green earth turn into a golden field of tall wheat. And now they understood the reason for the farmer’s work.
Then the wheat grew ripe, and the farmer came with his scythe and began to cut it down. The brother who had returned from the city couldn’t believe it. “What is this imbecile doing now?” he exclaimed. “All summer long he worked so hard to grow this beautiful wheat and now he’s destroying it with his own hands! He is a madman after all! I’ve had enough. I’m going back to the city.” But his brother bad more patience. He stayed in the country and watched the farmer collect the wheat and take it to his granary. He saw how cleverly he separated the chaff, and how carefully stored the rest. And he was filled with awe when he realized that by sowing a bag of seed, the farmer had harvested a whole field of grain. Only then did he truly understand that the farmer had a reason for everything he did.
Both brothers were suffering from uncertainty. In the story, they were constantly asking themselves and each other… “what is this farmer doing?” They had no experience which informed what the farmer was doing. They had no one in authority to provide answers. In fact, one of the brothers saw no good solution for anything he was seeing and so he gave up and went back home. In this particular story, uncertainty even caused a small rift between the brothers. In the story, the city-slicker brothers were uncertain about country life, what exactly the farmer was doing, why he was doing what he was doing, or how what he was doing would lead to anything good. It led one of them to declare that the farmer was a “madman.”