Monday, June 17, 2013

Bright and Beautiful

All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small,

All things wise and wonderful:

The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,

Each little bird that sings,

He made their glowing colors,

He made their tiny wings.

The cold wind in the winter,

The pleasant summer sun,

The ripe fruits in the garden,

He made them every one.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

~Refrain and verses 1,4, and 6 of "All Things Bright and Beautiful" by Mrs. Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895)

This morning after Amore left for work amid the first splashes of more than two hours of slow, steady rain, I uncharacteristically opened the patio door, closed the screen, and lingered before the Lord. As I listened to the sounds of the welcome rain, the wind in the trees and a neighbor's wind chimes, the chirping of a cardinal and the cooing of the mourning doves, the croaking of the frogs in another neighbor's pond, and Ebony dreaming of chasing something a few feet to my right, there was nothing hard about my thanksgiving. It welled up effortlessly, which itself is cause for gratitude.

(This is north Texas, y'all. Cool, wet mornings in mid-June are precious commodities.)

Things might easily have been otherwise. By the time the first set of tubes were placed in my ears (age 4, perhaps?), I had lost 25% of my hearing. The minor surgery restored that, but if the loss had been permanent the whole ensuing decades of my life would have been different. I don't remember a time without playing the piano or reading my own books, and the former would have been much less likely, at least to the level I studied it, without healthy ears.

How many others do not have that choice? Not all can listen to the sounds I enjoyed this morning; not all can enjoy watching the birds and the progression of the flowers and fruits through spring and summer; not all have means or access to surgery to correct problems with sight and hearing before they take permanent hold of earthly bodies. Remembering those simple blessings I often take for granted, this children's hymn (specifically, John Rutter's musical setting of it) came to mind and grew my thanksgiving into worship.

Many things in my life have not changed. My mother's arm is still immobilized in a sling for at least the rest of the week. Multiple areas of chronic pain still shape my daily choices; I'm still experimenting with exercise at home and at the pool in hopes of finding something I can do which does not increase pain in any of the trouble spots. Several heavy prayer burdens I cannot share here persist unabated. My "land of my sojourning" continues to struggle in many ways. But neither have God's might and greatness changed. He still makes all things well. He is good and does good, as the author of Psalm 119 writes. Those unchanging things embolden me to thank Him for all the rest, too.

Today I offer thanks in community to God Almighty, as is our wont here on Mondays:
for His greatness;
that He has made all things well, as we someday shall see and now take by faith;
for eyes that see all things bright and beautiful;
for ears that hear;
for the creatures, great and small, which share my days;
for cool, rainy June Mondays;
for an extra hour of (over)sleep;
for three more visits to the public pool last week;
for time in the flesh with much of my family of origin for Father's Day;
for a phone visit with Amore's dad;
for a good dental check-up;
for courage to obey God in a bittersweet decision;
for a warm and loving church family;
for a quart bag of blackberries in the freezer awaiting one more pint before the whole lot becomes cobbler;
for Bluebell blackberry cobbler ice cream in the mean time;
for birds and butterflies;
for the delight of watching our dogs sleep over the years, especially when they dream;
for praying friends;
for time to tarry with the Lord;
for a new-to-me audiobook of an old ink-and-paper friend, the autobiography Evidence Not Seen;
and sweetest of all, for the deep, deep love of Jesus.
(from my gratitude journal, #702-722)

Q: If you should choose to comment, would you consider thanking God for one ordinary blessing you might be tempted to take for granted?

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Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.