I park my car and enter the familiarity of Sycamore Grove. My tangled thoughts are equally familiar. “This is why I need this walk,” I tell myself, “to sort out the tangles.” I put my earbuds in. Chris Renzema’s voice helps contain my thoughts.
This day began with a quick chat with my cousin in India to discuss details of her father’s memorial service.
“Do you want to record a short video to share your memories?”
With that, the band-aid was ripped off and grief enveloped me afresh. I gathered my thoughts about my dear Uncle throughout the day. The searing pain of loss, sorrow for the 8,000 miles between us, and gratitude for his generous heart mingled, but pain threatened to win. That afternoon, I’d made my way through the garden section at Home Depot, pondering death amidst life in bloom. Digging and replanting, my heart felt lighter. “Why is dirt such an anti-depressant?” I wondered. From the dust you came, from the dust you are.
Now, I think about the dirt under my feet as I walk one of my favorite trails.
“Can I show you something?”
The stranger’s voice breaks my contemplation. I turn my attention in the direction of his voice and take off my earbuds. My eyes meet the stranger’s eyes. His slightly weathered face tells me he’s probably about 50 but the expression on his face is one that brings my eight-year-old to mind. The one that says, “You’re not going to believe this!”
I recognize it immediately: Wonder.
“Yes. Of course.”
“I just saw a kingbird chasing a hawk. Attacking it! Do you know about kingbirds?”
“No, tell me about them.”
He does. He describes their coloring, their character, the places they like to be. This field on this hot afternoon is simply perfect for these tiny, spirited birds. He gestures to show me how big they are. In the end I am just as amazed as he is about kingbirds that dare to attack hawks ten times their size. We stand quietly staring at the field, hearts trying to comprehend the wonder packed in just this tiny corner of God’s great big world. My spirit communes with that of this stranger as we ponder God’s glory for a moment. I thank him for sharing his joy with me and hope he understands what a gift he’s given me. When I tell him that I will keep my eyes open for these birds, I mean it.
I pull into the driveway of my home and find that my thoughts are surprisingly untangled. In those few minutes, the stranger has reminded me to delight in God’s beauty as an unfettered child. I can now walk into my home with my soul filled with hope and joy. I point to the beautiful pink and coral sunset and tell my boys, “Look at this with me!” We stand together in the driveway watching the clouds turn from sorbetto shades to fiery crimson. We marvel at how even cresting darkness is prefixed with God’s artistry.
“This is why we’ll need eternity,” I think, “to show each other the wonders we see as the veil comes off.”
More about kingbirds:
Featured image by https://www.bird-sounds.net/