Night was falling; the trees spoke to one another, their voices rising with each rustling leaf. The crickets tuned their wings and played their songs as a handful of crows flew noisily overhead, calling out the directions home, already late, and in a hurry. I laid down on the grass as God slowly covered the world with darkness. The frogs, living in secret places near the hedge, added their bass notes to the sounds of the night.
“You’re a composer,” I said to God. I closed my eyes and listened. I heard the beating of His heart, the breath escaping His lips, the sound of His love reverberating through all of creation.
“Thank you,” I said, and applauded the performance. The fog spilled over the hillside—cold and damp— and so I rose to go— but taking with me the knowledge that I am part of it all—my soul a chord in His great symphony.
A crow landed in the top of a tall pine, startling a flock of sparrows. They took flight, a cloud of confetti moving across the blue sky. I watched them until they disappeared off towards the ocean. There are worlds of wonder taking place all around me, I thought to myself. I took a moment and observed the clouds—frothy white and whispy. The song of a finch invited my eyes to the feeder where she was perched, happily singing.
“Pay attention,” God said softly and released a butterfly from His hand. I watched her dance from flower to flower.
“I’ll keep my eyes open to the things that really matter,” I answered.
A ribbon of birds appeared just beyond the garden—the returning sparrows. They landed one by one in a tall pine across the street, settling back down into God’s loving hands, where we all dwell.
The moon hung suspended on strings from God’s hands. I saw it there, above the trees just to the north, and walked out to greet it. God tugged it upwards, directing it higher and higher into the night sky. The stars came out to watch the show with me, the great marionettist entertaining us all.
“Direct me across the sky of my life, God,” I prayed.
A bird in the oak tree sang her last song before sleep; her voice filling my heart with peace, and I realized God was pulling me along by my heartstrings. I smiled up at the moon, we are in good hands, I thought.
The storm, gathering off the coast above the sea, sends ahead its scouts of wind, blowing the trees off their centers. A flock of birds perches precariously in the top of an oak, swaying with each gust. I watch them shift their weight to keep their balance, leaning into each gust—never once complaining of the wild ride.
“God, help me to have their faith,” I prayed, wanting their calm trust.
“Hold onto me as they do,” God invited, reaching out to embrace me.
I leaned into His arms, all the way into the circumference of His heart.
I gazed at my reflection in the mirror as I brushed my teeth: wrinkles, sagging skin, and three inches of dark roots publically exposing that I’m a bottle blonde. So much for beauty during this pandemic, I thought. I spit the toothpaste out and rinsed my mouth.
“I don’t look at your hair or skin when I want to see your beauty,” God said as I turned to leave the bathroom.
“What do you look at?” I asked.
“I look at your scars.”
Startled, I asked, “The scar down my back from scoliosis surgery? It’s ugly!”
“No. Not those types of scars,” God said softly. “I look at the scars on your heart from battling to heal from all the wrongs done to you. From standing your ground for what is good in the world. For always trying to love, even when it hurts.”
My chin quivered, my voice lost to the lump in my throat.
“The body isn’t what is beautiful; it’s the fight for truth and justice and love that makes people beautiful.”
I nodded, still too moved to speak.
“One more thing,” God said. “No one should ever be ashamed of the body their beauty resides in.”
I nodded again. “Thank you, for seeing my beauty and reflecting it back to me,” I whispered. I reached out and put my arms around Him and leaned into His eternal embrace.
The sun pushed its way into the morning and sauntered over to my garden. “Are you here to grow my flowers?” I asked— the marigolds leaning their pretty heads towards its warmth. I smiled at the thought of God’s creation—the pieces all fitting together in the service of life. A bee buzzed by on his single-minded task of visiting each blossom. I sat down on the cool, damp earth, and watched God at work, orchestrating an entire universe in my little flower patch.
“It’s all love,” God whispered through the tall foxgloves, His breath waving them to and fro.
“I know,” I said, “because you are love.”
The sun playfully kissed the flowers, sending their sweet sighs out into the air. I sat for a long time, wanting nothing more than to be with God in my garden.