Several years ago, during a strange late-February thunderstorm, a fierce wind cut a path of destruction through our neighborhood. The experts couldn’t agree whether it was a microburst or a weak tornado. Whatever it was, it ripped siding off of some homes, knocked down fences, and toppled dozens of trees. We were lucky that our own house was spared, but our fence was shattered and all the trees in our backyard were uprooted.
For months I missed the sound of birds in those trees. I also missed watching squirrels play tag on top of the fence and rabbits running around at dusk. Our back yard had been stripped bare and was far too quiet. After the fence was rebuilt, we put up two new bird feeders and planted several trees.
I wrote today’s meditation a little over a year after the storm’s destruction. I was sitting outside one morning, and it suddenly hit me that many of the birds had finally returned. I remember closing my eyes and basking in their beautiful chorus. I heard at least three different sets of birds that were each doing some sort of call and response using the chirping and singing pattern of their species. It was like hearing three groups of people carrying on conversations at the same time. I found it amusing and laughed out loud.
Sitting outside on chilly spring mornings continues to be one of my favorite things. Wrapped in a blanket, sipping hot coffee, reading a devotion, praying, listening to the sounds of nature, and watching the sunrise all help to center my soul. I find that when I start my day with God while surrounded by God’s amazing creation, I am able to approach the rest of the day — planning lessons, setting up labs, teaching 147 middle school students, and working through mountains of grading — in a much more relaxed and peaceful manner.
This year it seems that here in Maryland we’ve had one polar vortex after another. Hopefully the one we’re experiencing this week will be the last of the season. I’m looking forward to later in March when hopefully I can once again head outside each morning to my tranquil, happy place. I know my students will appreciate it, too. Ha!
Where is your tranquil, happy place? It would be great if you would share in the comments where you go and what you do to spend time with God before your own hectic day begins.
I pray you all have an absolutely wonderful day that is overflowing with blessings!
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.