During my time in France there were moments that were especially healing. My friends gave me the space I needed to just be in the presence of God. In this tranquil place, which was completely new to me and so held no memories that could bring pain, I was able to sit and to be; to soak in the beauty of creation and to realise that, no matter where I am, God is. Perhaps this week you too will be able to find a place where you can just be and also remember that God is – no matter where you are or what you are facing.
Dawn in a Garden
Be still and know that I am God Psalm 46:10
Small white clouds race across the blue sky high above me. And yet here, in the garden, all is still and silent. But as I sit and listen, the silence is not quiet. For the silence is an absence of noise made by man, and in fact the air around me resounds with bird song. Some I can identify, familiar sounds from home; others hover on the verge of my memory, echoes of a childhood in another land; still more are new to me, this early morning in a garden in France.
Surrounded by trees and fields of sunflowers turning their early morning faces to the sun, and vineyards, neatly trimmed, bursting with the promise of abundant harvest, this place is a paradise for birds. They dart here and back again too quickly to identify and so I give up the quest and just sit and soak in the sights and the songs. More varied this morning than I have ever heard before in this place, the dawn chorus has many participants, most in harmony with one another – but interspersed with an occasional harsh cry from a crow or from some smaller cousin alarmed by a threat – real or perceived.
As I sit quietly and let life happen around me, I begin to realise that it is only in the stillness of my life that I become aware of the voices of others. When I was so intent on my own agenda, the little voices passed me by, and I wonder how often the busy-ness of my everyday life prevents me from hearing the small voice of my Creator. What do I miss when I never stop to be still and listen? As if in answer to the question a new, sweet song is sung – and the rich liquid notes of an oriole thrill my soul. There she is – high in the oak tree.
Gently through the sunshine, the first raindrops fall and the quiet beauty of the silence is broken. But it will not be forgotten as I tuck the lesson learnt into my heart and move to begin my day.
broken. But it will not be forgotten as I tuck the lesson learnt into my heart and move to begin my day.