About us there are many beautiful things.
As I walked down the sidewalk briskly, I noticed much. Green lawns, some lush and thick and vibrant green. Gardens greeted me cheerfully with their abundant variety of colour, texture, and heights. Bold, red geraniums, pale pink and purple saucy petunias, the start of a small, delicate, white rose bush. Ground cover in purples and whites and mauves give stark contrast to trees and lawn. Hidden in the shade of some gardens were lily of the valley - oh those tiny, delicate, bells - four to five on a stem! I saw multi-coloured hostas, tall sedate Iris in white and blue and purple. Further along I caught my breath as orange poppies swayed in the wind. Their silky petals blowing remind me of wars fought, blood shed, and lives lost. Whenever I see them I think of John McCrae's poem, In Flander's Fields. I reflect with a thankful heart for the Two World Wars and honour those who claimed our freedom. I walk on. I pass fragrant purple lilac bushes, pushing onto the sidewalk.
Birds chirp and sing their pretty songs. A robin, less than two feet from my toes, hops from the sidewalk- some yellow grass firmly grasped in its beak. Repairing a nest? I wonder. I walk on, glancing at the clear blue sky, birds gliding here and there. The day is warm and there is water pooling in concrete depressions, a reminder of last night's rain. The wet, quenching plants' thirst. Thanks be to our God and creator who formed the sun, rain, and soil. I am delighted to enjoy the artistry of this late spring. Another gift from Him. Life shimmers and shouts its rhythms to my thirsty soul.
I cross the bridge. The Boyne River flows, murky and brown over rocks. Gurgling, twisting, sometimes trickling around branches. I watch before the footbridge leads to concrete and businesses, stores, and offices and then meets the parking lot. I come to the main street of this small Canadian town.
I shout ahead to my three children on bikes, "Wait for mom at the busy street." I watch the girls hair flowing behind them - one a coppery orange, the other earthen brown and honey. As Josh turns, I see his blushed cheeks and dancing eyes." He turns, again facing forward, races his sisters up the hill. I am reminded of the simplicity of life, the joy of the moment, and the beauty that peeks around every corner.
The beauty around me stills and calms my soul.
Why do we rush, hurry, press on- to accomplish tasks that never end? When did we forget to pause during the day to drink in moments of splendor? How do we find time to enjoy the present?
I'm down by the river now, I hear its life burbling, flowing. I smell the earthy damp. I watch a black squirrel scamper up the large maple tree. I step over a root and around a rock and I know the truth.
We claim the time. We ponder what is. We reflect on this abundant life. We pause and use our senses. We think on the lovely, the pure, the honourable.
We quiet our minds, and turn our hearts to the Great "I am." With thanksgiving we seek our God in prayer. Father, Creator, Provider, Healer, the one who was, and is, and always will be. We pause to hear His still and quiet voice whispering truth. Dark places are made light and light places are illuminated to accentuate good. We choose life and blessing and give the same to those we touch.
We remember a hug, a kind word, a deed of service, a victory won, laughter shared, lesson learned, song sung, trials endured, a gift given, friendship granted, mercy extended, grace applied, pride surrendered, generosity cultivated, meekness admired, patience honed, gentleness appreciated, peace understood.
Simply put, we ponder the lovely.
"Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence, and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you." Philippians 4: 8-9 NASV