All night, a gentle rain fell while I slumbered. I woke to the smell of freshness, the garden bathed and clean. The sun had not yet climbed high enough to share her warmth; I pulled on my coat to go outside. Puddles lined the pathway and pooled on the blossoms and leaves. The damp chill in the air made me wistful—wishing for fall to arrive with her shorter days and cozy nights. I yearned for romance, for innocence. For sweetness. “The worlds a chaotic place these days, God,” I whispered. “Bathe us in your love so that all hearts can see you in everyone, no matter the color of their skin. May every child of yours know equality and justice,” I prayed.
A bird in the tall pines began to sing, giving me hope that one day, we will understand that we are here to love one another, to celebrate God in each other, and in ourselves.
I took God’s heart in my hand and climbed the steps back to the house, to start my day with His love.
The sleepy sun rested her head upon the western horizon. Soon, she would drop below the curve of the earth and invite the night to take her place. Birds gathered at the feeder, singing to one another. I stood at the kitchen sink, peeling potatoes, listening to their songs. They were so sweet and tender that I had to stop preparing dinner and go out to the garden to be with them.
I sat on the deck so I’d not disturb them. As the night closed in, their little voices grew louder. I wondered what they were singing about.
“They are love songs,” God said, and sat down beside me. “They are telling you how much I love my creation. How much I love you.”
I nodded, not wanting to speak over their voices. I looked up—the first star of the evening hung above the treeline. The birds lifted from the feeder, one by one, flying off to their warm nests, but taking a piece of my heart with them, so that in the morning, they could sing a love song to God for me.
I don’t know when the house had been torn down, its foundation eaten away by the erosion of the sea cliff. I walked out onto the remaining concrete and sat down. Below me, the expansion of the ocean stretched out as far as the eye could see. A flock of pelicans flew by, a row of winged dinosaurs heading south. “I needed this quiet time today, God,” I prayed. “My heart is heavy with the turmoil in the world—the virus, the unemployment, but mostly, the racial injustice— the fear and hatred. I don’t know what to do to help.”
“Keep loving,” God said.
A seal poked her head above the water, then dove back down—the water so clear at the tidepools that I could see her swimming among the rocks and kelp. How peaceful she looked, there in her element. I watched God’s ocean kingdom until my heart felt as if it could handle the rest of the day. I rose slowly, brushing the dust of the old concrete off my pants, the gentle reminder that everything is impermanent. Life is always in a state of change. If we learn to love one another, the changes will be for the better. For this, I pray.
The sun, already risen, waited for me to come out to the garden. I poured myself a cup of coffee, then joined her. A breeze blew in off the ocean, swaying the blossoms to and fro. The finches were eating at the feeder, and the butterflies and bees bobbed about. All around me was the love of God, flowing throughout His creatures and creation.
So moved was I by the peacefulness, I wondered, How can people, who have God’s spirit within them, harm another who has God’s spirit dwelling within them?
“Fear makes people harm others,” God said.
“How can we help people to be unafraid?” I asked.
“Love them,” God answered.
“It’s hard to love someone who is doing hurtful things.”
“They still have my Spirit in them,” He reminded me. “To withhold love from them is its own type of harm,” He explained.
I allowed God’s words to settle into my heart, to always encourage me to love, no matter what. We sat together and enjoyed His creation waking up to the new day, a new chance to share and receive His love.
All night the wind blew, huffing and puffing as if to blow the house down. I stayed curled up in my bed, listening to its fury. Unable to take down the house, it turned its attention to the tall foxgloves. They moved to its whims, like an inflatable advertising tube man, collapsing and rising again, arms and hair flailing about. By night’s end, my favorite foxglove had bent too many times and was unable to right herself again. My heart was heavy when I saw her laying her soft head on top of the other flowers.
I lifted her and tied her gently to a bamboo stake so that she could once again take her rightful place in the garden. “We all need a helping hand now and then,” I told her as I tied the last string in place to secure her. “The winds of change blow in everyone’s direction.” I heard the gate swing open, it’s rusty hinges complaining.
“You’ve done good work here, Sparrow,” God said. “You’ve loved well this morning by helping one of my creations.”
“it’s what you’ve taught me to do,” I answered. “The more I know you, the more I want to love and serve others, just as you love and serve us.”
A yellow finch landed on the feeder and began singing. “That’s my cue to start my morning. Let’s have coffee together,” I suggested.
God nodded and we walked arm and arm up the steps to the house together.
The moon climbed high into the starry sky, spilling her pale light into my room. I readied myself for sleep—another day done. I took off my shoes and thought about the needy prayers I’d been praying lately, asking God for help with this and that. I knelt by my bed and prayed, “God, you’ve carried me through so many ups and downs in my life, I hope I don’t wear you out.”
“Love is never a burden,” He said, His voice soft and tender.
He lifted me onto my feet and pulled me to Him. There, in the lanternlight of His moon, I stood safe in His eternal arms.