all nature sings

Confession: I opened my eyes this morning dreading the day ahead. Again. Even in my groggy, coffee-less thoughts, I knew this was neurotic. I closed my eyes and prayed: the Lord made this day and I should rejoice — not dread, but be glad. I opened my eyes and made a mental note to write in my gratitude journal: soft, peaceful light hovering over the stillness of our bedroom. I reached over to rest my hand on my husband's strong arm. I stroked our cat's blue gray fur. I stood up and opened the blinds to see gardenias resting on the outdoor red brick windowsill. Every year I look forward to snipping a few of those flowers to place in a blue pottery bowl in our living room. I learned this simple act of joy from my mom.

After coffee I still worried. I decided that one way to change my mental perspective would be to change my physical location. I didn't have to go far — I just took a few steps from the armchair to the breakfast nook table. I carried along the usual suspects: Bible, The Book of Common Prayer, journal, pen, and a card for a loved one. I didn't want to miss today's mail, so I picked up my pen first. The simple longhand movements across the paper caused me to breathe slower and deeper. I stopped thinking about my self, worries, and fears and veered my thoughts toward this person whom I love and admire. I also thought about how she would handle this day — with courage, peace, hard work, laughter, creativity, patience, and selflessness. O Lord, change me.

I looked out the window and our [Orthodox] Easter lilies took me by surprise. How could this be when I've seen them every day for a week now? Four are in full bloom, four will open by this evening, and several more will open this week. The previous owners of our house planted these white trumpets and they multiply every year. This never ceases to amaze me since Johnny and I do nothing to cultivate their beauty. It is all the work of the Lord who speaks these flowers to life.

Then I looked up to the wide blue sky, sunshine, and our neighbors' pear, elm, and pine trees. And all of the sudden I started singing an old, favorite hymn. I couldn't recall some of the words, so I Googled the title. I sang the entire hymn and smiled when I finished. It is the perfect declaration to sing again and again as I do dishes and laundry, take a walk outside, and shower — or any time today when dread might resurface its no-good, lying little head.

Last week I heard Psalms in the pine trees of the local park. Two days ago I spied a small congregation in our neighborhood's retention pond — a white egret, a blue heron, and wood ducks — sitting near pools of recent rainwater foraging God's provision for a feast. Likewise, I want to live in perpetual worship of my Creator. One way to do this is to sing.

This is My Father's World

This is my Father's world,
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world:
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father's world,
the birds their carols raise,
the morning light, the lily white,
declare their Maker's praise.
This is my Father's world:
He shines in all that's fair;
in the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father's world.
O let me ne'er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!


Christine said...

Yes, yes, yes. I love your tree picture. Treehuggers unite.

Shanna Mallon said...

This is beautiful. Our Creator is so good to fill His world with good gifts to point us to Him.