Prayer Note #14 — Potted Plants and Perching Birds


African Violets against Leaded Glass; photo by GAC

A PRAYER OF THANKS FOR GIFTS THAT LIVE AND BREATHE

Thanks you, Lord, for my plants.  They pour life and earthiness and calm into my study.  Even the fierce crown of thorn plants, which scratch me and puncture me, add an untamed elegance to this space where I spend so much time.  There is an unmistakable calmness about these green, rooted, growing things.  You’ve make them like that.  They move slowly.  They turn toward the light, but not in a hurry.  They receive with gratitude and patience the necessities of life from your hand — in some respects through my hands.  Tending them, watering and pruning them, potting them, and looking at them gives me such pleasure and peace.  It is a balm to my soul.  Thank  you for letting me have them.

•   •   •

A Male and Two Female Cowbirds; photo by GAC

The birds are busy in our yard these days [April 26].  Now that I am past 50 years old, I’ve begun to recognize one bird from another –not just by sight but also by song, silhouette, flight pattern, roosting and feeding preferences.  by your grace, I’ve been learning these things about the birds around me, and that has enabled me to watch them with much more understanding and a clearer sense of what I am watching.

I’ve been finding a very real sense of peacefulness and pleasure while I watch the birds around my yard.   Such a rich, lovely, wonder-filled world you have created for us!  Such delightful variety you have given to all the many birds — their sizes and shapes, their habits and behaviors, their songs and calls.  To be able to look at an assortment of little gray-brown birds and begin to discern the subtle markings that tell me that this one is a house sparrow, and that one on the branch is a pine siskin, and that one over there with the little red-brown cap and white eyebrows is a chipping sparrow — this small skill does not overcome injustice or launch an evangelistic crusade or fill a hungry stomach.  Yet, it brings such pleasure to my life and somehow seems to conduct me deeper and more clearly into the riches of your mind and purpose.  And in that, I become more of a steward of your riches.  With that stewardship, I know, comes the responsibility to invest and care for this gift to the benefit of your kingdom and my neighbors.

Pine Siskins in the Snow; photo by GAC

Like so many of your good gifts to us human beings, this blessing requires a slow and unhurried process of digestion.  Guard me from the temptation of busyness that would cut short my digestion of your good blessings — in prayer and scripture, in birds and plants and words.  Guard me from the many, powerful temptations to squander my time, because such squanderings are often the chief cause of my busyness in life — that busyness that so often stops me from accomplishing some much that is really important.

©2010 Gary A. Chorpenning

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