Posts Tagged ‘nature’

 The past several mornings just as I have arrived at my workplace, I have seen flocks of Canada geese flying overhead, honking their farewells.  I watched this morning as a few large groups of birds met and formed several smaller groups, executing a beautiful choreography as they maneuvered into their standard V-formation.  They rose up on glossy wings, defying gravity, as I stood earthbound watching them go. 

 Their departure seemed timely, as I have been thinking much about goodbyes in recent days.  The migration of the geese reminded me of all the heavy-hearted leave-takings that I have experienced in my lifetime.  I have watched my parents, grandparents, nephew, aunts, uncles, father-in-law, brothers-in-law, cousins, friends, and neighbors travel beyond the distant horizon.  Goodbye is hard for those of us who cannot go on the journey, but for those who have embarked on the flight, the adventure has begun.  They may look on us with sadness at the parting, but the irresistible pull of the deep calling unto the deep draws them onward until they cannot and would not look back. 

 The exodus of the geese heralds the coming of cold, dark winter for us, but their travels will lead them to find summer again.  How I envied them this morning!  King David, the sweet singer of Israel, said, “Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.”  I bid Godspeed to those who have earned their wings, and I hope that I, too, someday may mount up with wings as eagles, confident in my destination.


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Mother’s Day engenders sentimental recollections of gentle mothers whose cool hands caressed fevered brows and whose well-modulated voices articulated their love for their children. I am a mother, so I know the depth and the reality of a mother’s love. I, too, remember my mother’s love and kindness, but I also remember her independence, her spirit, and her strength, which also made me strong.

Did her cool hand lie on my fevered brow? Yes, many times, and I can still feel the metal of her wedding band against my forehead as she checked my temperature. I also remember her wielding spoons full of the most awful-tasting medicine and saying, “Open your mouth. Don’t spit that out! Don’t you dare spit that out!”

I remember kicking and screaming upon receiving a shot from the family doctor, and I’ll never forget the dressing down my mother gave me afterwards. She would have done a drill sergeant proud, and I never misbehaved at the doctor’s office again. Thereafter, when the doctor gave me my lollipop, I had earned it.

I remember a mother who was never too busy in the evenings to go on jaunts to the woods to look for faeries, or to play her guitar and sing, work puzzles, or play games. She often called to me to look at the flame of a cardinal’s wing burning in the evergreens or to listen to the music of tree frogs. She taught me to love nature and to have sympathy for all living things. Nevertheless, this was the same mother who practically annihilated me for going wading in the creek barefoot because she understood the contamination of what looked like nice, clean water to me.

My mother taught me that God sees the sparrow that falls, and she believed in living by faith. Even though she did not want me to borrow tomorrow’s cares, she expected me to do my best at my endeavors. I knew better than to bring home anything less than a B on my schoolwork, and that was barely tolerated. I was made to practice the piano for one hour every day because my grandmother was paying good money for my lessons, and I owed it to her to do my best, and I’d better appreciate it, too.

I remember, “Did you hear what I said, little girl?” “You come right back here and close that door without slamming it,” and “You will apologize this instant.” I’ll never forget, “Straighten up that face before it freezes that way,” but I think her ultimate remark was, “I hope you have a daughter exactly like you are someday.”

She was the first one to hold me in this life, and I was the last one to hold her. Thirty-one years ago, I stood by her bed in the hospital and watched my tiny, fierce little mother succumb to cancer too soon, and I was not ready to let her go. I thought a pillar of strength had faded out of my life, but I was wrong. She left her strength behind. She had taught me well, as I have tried to teach my own daughter. Being an indulgent parent is easy. Being a vigilant, effective one takes guts.

Love is indeed stronger than death. My mother’s love glows in the twilight mist. It calls me in the mourning dove’s song. It beckons me along woodland paths. It thunders in my heart as I stand at her grave, bereft but not forsaken.

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One chilly afternoon as I was running errands and engrossed completely in the mundane, I happened to glance up to the sky. What I saw there filled me with inspiration, strength, and encouragement. The pale, wafer-thin disc of an almost-full moon hung delicately in the wintry sky. It appeared distant and cold, yet heartbreakingly beautiful. I turned to look at the opposite skyline, and it was warmed and illuminated by the fiery orb of the evening sun. My heart was lifted up to the Father of Lights, whose great power set both these lights in the heavens.

After a few short hours, the sun dropped behind the leafless western hills, and a dark mantle fell over the earth. Then, the moon rose up in the sky and shone forth, no longer dim and obscure. Its silvery rays turned the frost and snow to diamonds and put the stars to shame.

Jesus said, “As long as I am in the world; I am the light of the world.” His light shone among men only for the span of His brief lifetime, but it was expedient for us that He should go away. The light of His presence was removed from this earth and those who followed Him, the children of light, were left to be the light of the world.

We are like the wintry moon that appears in daytime. We have no light of our own, and beside Him our light could scarcely be discerned. Nevertheless, after He went away, we became like the moon when the sun has hidden behind the dark hills. We must arise in the darkness and reflect His light as He has commanded. The closer we are to the Sun of Righteousness, the more of His light we will be able to shed abroad in the world. Let us then be bathed in the Light that our light may also shine.

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