It was only a sore throat and negligible fever. Nothing too terrible, but enough to slow me. My body was bidding me to rest.
So I sank into our oversized chair, living room windows flung open in salutation to glorious springtime weather.
For the first afternoon in what felt like ages, I was not required to go anywhere, nor to do anything.
So I befriended stillness in the quiet of our home, a blanket soft upon my lap, sipping hot tea mixed with crushed lemon wedges–fighting off chills that tend to accompany fever. Closing my eyes and releasing a long, deep breath, I felt the tightness in my shoulders begin to subside.
My auditory senses stirred. A gentle Tu-a-wee! tu-a-wee! of a bluebird filled our backyard, cascading through the breezy window screens. And then? Only the distant barking of a dog.
A peaceful quiet fell, hushing my mind as a faint rustling breeze brushed the swaying treetops bordering our yard.
I listened intently; eyes closed.
After awhile the bluebird trilled again, adorning the stillness with a gentle melody, low and sweet.
I would like to paint the way a bird sings, said French painter, Claude Monet.
We have no fewer than three of Monet’s paintings adorning our home. His work gives me pause to consider, as I gaze at such soothing renditions of nature affected by light. He accomplished his wish–to paint the way a bird sings–soft brushstrokes, brilliant hues, fashioning a melody for the eye to somehow hear rather than see.
Monet was masterful in dotting the canvas–stand too close and you will miss the glory of each painting. It appears thickly dotted in layers- swirls of seeming nothingness. Yet step back three paces and witness the exquisite scene captured through such impressionistic artistry. A wonder of surprise–such a feast of color and presence minus constrictive, heavy lines.
A birdsong for the soul.
Look at the birds, who neither sow nor reap nor gather yet are fed by God (Matthew 6:26).
As I sat in afternoon stillness, watching the shadows gradually crawl and slant, I considered the birds.
God’s creation, sustained by him and for him–stunning little cheeping creatures. They warble because they were made to sing–giving no thought to their next meal, or worrisome weather, or future concerns. They are free to soar.
I have grown to absorb this ministry life–my husband is also my pastor– in the same manner a paper towel, corner dipped then held in a swirl of grape juice spilled countertop will gradually absorb and hold the entire puddle. The paper towel does not rage–instead it carries the weight of the liquid dutifully. That paper towel, once stiff and square and glowy-white eventually grows tired and limp from clutching the unending messes. The juice is always spilling. Again and again.
So I sit here and my sore throat and fever are the least of my worries. Mentally, I tick off one, two, three, four, five plus ongoing ministry issues. I inwardly groan–enveloped by the weight of it all. I am a soggy paper towel, weighed down by purple juice.
Honestly? I bear little resemblance to that sweet bluebird trilling outdoors.
As I rest–eyes closed–I ponder the power of God to sustain. He cares for the birds, and so much more for me. He sees it all as he engineers the entire world.
If I choose to stand too close to these ongoing concerns — thick dots smattered on the canvas–I lose the panoramic view of the stunning painting–the eternal landscape glowing with the light of Christ.
Three steps back, Kristin, I remind my exhausted heart. Trust God. He knows precisely what he is doing. So I mentally heave the entire sum of heartache before God, a Yes, Lord, as I place everything back into his hands.
As if on cue, the bluebird chirps again, and I smile through my fever.
God is near.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Peter 5:6-7