Alicia folds into her assigned plane seat. Adjusting earbuds, she is soon lost in the music, oblivious to fellow travelers in her row. With eyes closed and head bobbing, she lip-sings one song after another during the flight. The album captured her the first time she heard it, and she has been listening to it non-stop since. At home, Alicia’s mom latched onto the songs too. Alicia was grateful, because the music helped them both through a rough patch.*
When I’m in a rough patch, instead of earbuds, I walk out the door. A mocking bird perches on the stop sign on our corner. He belts his medley with such joy, that I can’t help smiling. During his concert, I nudge an acorn at my feet. This nut will wait until spring, then send out a curved white tail into the soil. How does it survive dormancy and know when to sprout?
The living world of feathers and bark comforts me and fills me with awe. This wonder and curiosity urged me to enroll in my state’s master naturalist course. There I met fellow nature enthusiasts and our shared interest drew us together, because we enjoyed together. We marveled at the variety of plants and animals and their fitting together with geology and hydrology as if they were one living organism.
My excitement of shared amazement was clouded, however, with sadness. With rare exception, my classmates believed these fantastical systems came to be through a series of rolled dice. They may have thought me naive to believe God created it all, but I sorrow(ed) for them that they don’t recognize the design and brilliance of his handiwork. Like me, some of them are moved to tears at the beauty and intricacies of a dragon fly’s wing, yet they don’t experience joy shared with the One who authored and sustains these miracles. He is intimately present, but they brush past Him unaware.
Remember Alicia on the airplane, singing and moving with the music which brought her comfort? She rose through her music at one point and started making small talk with the fellow sitting next to her.
“What do you do in life?” she asked.
“Write music,” he answered.
“Do you like live music?” she asked.
“I love gigs. Nothing beats live music.” He answered and continued. “How did you discover what you’re listening to?”
Alicia explained that a TV show introduced her to her favorite album.
“Who’s your favorite artist,” he asked.
“Dotan,” she beamed, “Isn’t it beautiful?” Though he could hear the music, he seemed not to have heard of the artist.
As the plane landed, he wrote a quick note and gave it to her as they exited the gate.
After arriving home, she unloaded her bags and began reading his note.
“Thanks for listening to my music and quietly singing along.”
Alicia grabbed her mom, then wrote back.
“I really don’t know where to start. First of all: I can’t believe how stupid I am for not recognizing you and ignoring all the subtle hints you were giving me…”
She adored the music. How much more would the music have thrilled her, had she known who sat beside her?
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. Psalm 19:1-4a **
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Let all creation rejoice before the Lord. Psalm 96: 11-13a **
** Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.