Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Simple Things

I love my new office!  Outside of my BIG window (it's most of the wall) to the west is a flat roof that extends over to the other part of our building.  It sits over the front hallway.  There is a big, very old tree that sits just across the sidewalk and shades the whole area, so I have the tree and all the birds that 'visit' during the day.  The flat roof is supposed to have a drain so that the rain water doesn't sit there but the tree continues to plug the drain providing lots of little birdbaths for my little friends.  As I sit at my computer I watch the cardinals and the blue jays splashing and soaking themselves in the water.  Of course there are the robins, the wrens, the sparrows and a couple of finches, too.  The girls in one of my classes were teasing that if they saw me with a hose this summer they would know what I was doing!

I was telling a young friend about my 'sanctuary' the other day.  Her eyes began to glaze over and I could tell that she really did not understand how special this was, so I took her up to see it.  After a few minutes, she looked at me and said, "OK.  They're just birds splashing in water.  It's nice."  But I could tell she wasn't very impressed.  Which got me to thinking (I think I've told you before that this is when the girls I used to work with would always have someplace to go)....

You know, when I was her age, I don't know that I appreciated the birds either.  So, is it my age that has made me slow down and notice these things?  Is it maturity that teaches us to appreciate the little, beautiful things in our lives or is it all the lessons we've learned by this age that have taught us that life is precious, that we should take the time to enjoy the little things in our lives because we are not guaranteed anything more than this. 

I mowed my grass yesterday and when I was finished I sat on my deck and watched the birds and the squirrels in the trees.  They're all back after the winter and they were all talking at the same time yesterday.  The birds were telling the squirrels to get out of their trees and the squirrels were talking right back to them.  (It reminded me of some people I know.  We're not so different after all).  My son had come out and while we were talking a beautiful eagle came flying over.  He (or she) just glided over the treetops for a few minutes and then flew farther north.  We are fortunate that we have many eagle's nests along the river just east of us a few miles.  This is not the first time I've seen eagles flying over our little town.  They are such majestic and regal birds!  Here was all of this chatter in the trees and there was the eagle gliding way above all the fray.

Again, maybe it's my age, but I thought about that eagle last night and how I long to be like it!  Sometimes I am those robins and wrens yakking away, not really saying anything, but making a lot of noise.  Sometimes I am those blue jays and cardinals, just enjoying the day and what God has given me.  I hope that there are just as many days that I am the eagle, gliding above all the fray and frustration, simply gliding and trusting.  The eagle seemed to look down on all that ruckus and shake his head as if he understood that all that commotion was pointless in the long-run.  He seemed to know that his place was above all of that.

I want to remember that eagle and that scene from yesterday.  I hope that I have many more like it, sitting out there this summer, but if I don't, I'll still have that video in my head to remind me that I want to be the eagle.  When I catch myself being the yakking robin, I will remember that my intention is to fly above all the noise and confusion and glide away to my quiet place, my serene place, my 'nest.'  I still want to be the blue jay and cardinal and have fun and enjoy life, too.

So, I guess I don't have an answer about the age thing.  I do think we have to have faced some of life's challenges and learned some of life's lessons to really appreciate the simple things in life.  I think that as children we enjoy it all because it is so new.  Then there is a period after our childhood that we take for granted a lot of things.  We just assume that they will always be there. 

It's at the middle part of your life, as your children are out on their own and you're slowing down a little bit  that you take the time to stop and enjoy.  We've learned there are no guarantees, no promises.  It could all be gone tomorrow so we learn to take a deep breath and, right now, the simple things in life.

Each day, awakening, are we asked to paint the sky blue? Need we coax the sun to rise or flowers to bloom? Need we teach birds to sing, or children to laugh, or lovers to kiss? No, though we think the world imperfect, it surrounds us each day with its perfections. We are asked only to appreciate them, and to show appreciation by living in peaceful harmony amidst them. The Creator does not ask that we create a perfect world; He asks that we celebrate it. ~Robert Brault

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