Jun 3 2012

Being A Good Host

It’s the season for company at our house.  Last week we were blessed to have my younger sister and her family come spend some time with us.  Later this evening my wife’s niece and her daughter will arrive.  In between these two family visits we’ve had a good bit of other company; the kind nature provides.  A few days ago my wife found a baby mockingbird that had decided to leave its nest sitting in one of our bushes.  It was a beautiful little specimen and we enjoyed spending some time watching it.  There’s also been a rabbit that’s been paying regular visits in our back yard.  Yesterday two mourning doves settled in on the railing of our porch deck.  I spent quite a bit of time with them and immensely enjoyed their company.  And then there’s been another frequent guest.  We haven’t seen him because he always stops by while we’re sleeping but this raccoon has decided our trash can has some of the best leftovers in the neighborhood.

Not all of our guests the past couple of days have been fauna.  We have also had several beautiful flowers pay us a visit.  There’s a rose bush with a few blossoms on one side of the house and some pretty yellow day lilies on the other side.  My favorite floral guests, however, have been the numerous magnolia blossoms that have popped up on the tree beside our driveway.  Every day a new guest arrives.  It’s been wonderful!

I truly do feel blessed by all the company we’ve had.  Whether they have been family, flora or fauna, they have all added much enjoyment and beauty to my life.  They keep reminding me of the wonders of God’s Creation.  Long ago the Psalmist declared “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (139:14)   I, too, recognize “full well” that God’s works are wonderful, but I keep being amazed by just how wonderful they are.

A number of times I have shared with you quotations from one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver.  Mary teaches through her poetry the importance of paying attention to what is around us.  This is something we all need to work on.  Many times we fail to notice that which is close by or, even worse, right in front of us.  We ought to be more observant.  In fact, I believe God expects us to be.

Maybe we could learn to become more observant and attentive if we started viewing both the people and things around us as guests.  Most of us do a good job of paying attention to the guests who visit our homes.  We typically do not ignore them, so why should we ignore our non-human guests? There’s no reason to be rude to them.  I want to encourage you to be a good host to all the guests God brings your way.  Pay attention to them.  Learn from them.  Enjoy their company.  It will make a difference, I promise.

–Chuck

(All of the pictures above were taken in our yard over the past few days.)


May 25 2011

A Nice Reminder

*Editor’s Note: This week marks the second anniversary of Seeing Creation.  Rob and I want to thank all of you who take the time to read our reflections and for the encouragement you have given us these past two years.

 Yesterday I received a nice reminder.  When I came home from work I was getting ready to enter the house when something caught my attention.  On the edge of our driveway (which is on a hill) I saw a small object rise momentarily and then fall.  I wasn’t quite sure what I had just seen so I went to look and see.  Come to find out it was a young mockingbird that was not yet able to fly.  I’m not exactly sure how it got on the edge of the driveway to begin with but apparently when it saw me come home it was spooked and tried to fly.  It instead tumbled a short distance where I found it resting unharmed.

I immediately went into the house to get my camera so that I could photograph the young bird.  As I started to take some pictures I heard a ruckus above me.  The bird’s mother was sitting in a nearby tree and didn’t seem to be happy about my being so close to her chick.  I hurriedly took my pictures and left.

While all of this was going on I couldn’t help but think of a passage of scripture found in Luke 12:6.  Here Jesus says, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?  Yet not one of them is forgotten by God?”  In this same setting Jesus went on to say, “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (v. 7)   As I thought of this passage I realized that I was not the only one who saw the little mockingbird fall.  So did our heavenly Father.  Jesus made it abundantly clear that God is concerned for all of his Creation, even tiny birds that tumble off of driveways in Pikeville, Kentucky.

Thinking of Jesus’ words I was also given the wonderful reminder that the God who cares for sparrows and mockingbirds also cares for me.  Jesus made sure that we understood that we humans are very special to God and that if we can remember that He loves even the little creatures we can rest assured He loves and cares for us. 

The whole point in Jesus sharing these words was to offer an encouraging word.  Because of our Father’s love we do not have to live our lives in fear.  We can have confidence that we live under our Creator’s watchful eye.  We can find great peace and joy knowing that we are loved.  A nice reminder indeed!

–Chuck

(The bird in the two images above is the one described in today’s entry.)