Monday, November 8, 2010

On Being Sedulous

I filled the bird feeders today. Not surprisingly, my feathered friends have not yet discovered them, but I know they will return. I take the feeders down in the summer and insist that they sedulously pursue their own food, reminding them that they are, in fact, birds - not garden guests showing up for tasty tapas throughout the day. They must work for their livelihood through the summer, I tell them. And when the temperature drops enough to build the first fire in the fireplace, I surprise them with their fresh, winter course of seeds. Then I watch and wait for their return. I find myself looking out the window, hoping to catch the first glimpse of those who have been great friends in the past, expecting their return and looking forward to their company again.
Yesterday was a great example of that. My church remembered all those people who have gone on to Heaven this past year. Their names were read aloud and a candle was lit in their memory. We sang For All The Saints and remembered those who had lived a Godly life, proclaimed their faith and lived it daily. I shared a moment of friendship with a couple whose young son was on the list this year and I thought back two years when my own child's name was called out. Every year, there will be a list. Every year people will leave us - some young, some old, some tragically, some mercifully. Every year we will stand in remembrance and work our way to the final verse of that hymn that proclaims a glorious day when all the saints shall rise and together we will all see the King of Glory. I fully expect this one day.
In celebration of All Saint's Day, I was honored to be invited to sign copies of When God Comes Near. As the people came with books in their hands, my heart silently prayed for the one who would soon be reading my story. As I talked to each person briefly, I learned that some were going to be mailed to parents, some were going to friends or children, some were for personal healing and hope. Each person trusted that the words written in When God Comes Near will encourage and lighten someone's heavy load. I pray for that to happen with every book that sells.
And more and more I wonder how it is we can carry those heavy loads. I think it must have something to do with bird watching! Did not Job say "Just ask the birds of the air and they will teach you"? I know I will see them at the feeder soon. But in the meantime, I must make preparations. I must wash that feeder, hang it securely, and fill it up with desirable food. I, like the birds, must be sedulous in the feeding of my own soul with reminders of God's love for me and others. I must be diligent through the ease of sunny days so that when the winter winds come, I will have the skills in place to survive. And God is a faithful "soul feeder" with an endless supply of love. I can always find Him ready and willing to feed me - winter, spring, summer, or fall. But why does God do that? We move through these seasons of nature and life and maybe even at times wonder "Moving to what? Moving where? And what am I doing to get wherever it is I am going? And does it even matter?" Why does God sustain me? Isn't it for that "day when all the saints shall rise and together we will all see the King of Glory?" And I thought it was all about me.