There is a bird singing to the high heavens right outside our den/office/whateveritis right now. Singing like there is little else that could possibly be important in that little bird's life. Singing like there is no tomorrow, and if there is, who cares? There's just him or her and the tune. Singing joyfully, loudly, with the beauty of the notes rolling into our house. Singing perhaps to a creator who is listening and maybe, just maybe singing along.
See, I woke up this morning with my mind, stayed on Jesus. Went to bed with a headache that is lingering, but with a mind stayed on Jesus. Hallelujah. Just running through my head, for reasons that are unclear at best. Just him and me, singing joyfully. Singing perhaps to a creator who is listening.
Singing because I can. Because I'm alive. I really am. I can tell because the dogs looked at me stagger out of bed.
With the dawn, I have thoughts. My kids are healthy, mostly happy as near as I can tell. My grand children are living monuments to funny, and they too are healthy. I have a calling, as well as a job, that pays the bills (mostly) and keeps us with food to eat and liquid to drink. I have a wife who I would quite literally die for. We are, minus the aches and pains that we're sort of learning to live with, healthy. Mostly. Enough.
I spent some time yesterday with a delightful young woman who has cancer. About two-thirds through our meeting, with her equally delightful mother, her lips parted into a very winning smile and she said, "You're funny." I smiled back, delighted that my little glockenspiel dance had made her laugh.
It's in those moments, friends, that Jesus delights. I know this because it is the interaction between people who don't even know each other that comforts each other and makes our delightful, funny, exhilarating Messiah smile himself.
It's in those moments that we realize, or I hope we do, that there are things far greater that ourselves that need tending to.
The other day I read a column from a writer friend of mine named Billy Watkins. It was a delight, as all his writing is. He is to me as Thor is to a carpenter (if you get the hammer reference). He wrote about his fight with cancer, about having been told he had five to 10 years to live some 14 years ago.
I Facebook messaged him this: "Just finished your column. I never knew any of this, of course. Ain't God great? Mysterious but great. We're moving again, five plus hours away from our kids and grand children, but I know there is a reason that only he might now and I am packing with restrained joy. Keep the prayers going as well as the pills and use your gift the way you always have. That's of God, too."
He messaged back this (and I use this for the point only): "God has work for you to do, too, and I'm proud of you for sacrificing to obey him. You're a good man who is helping save souls. What better duty can a man be given. I will get you "prayed up" as the saying goes. I'm really proud of what you are doing."
I don't know about all that, this good man helping save souls business might be more than I do. But sacrifice?
Nah. Sacrifice is having nails plunged into my feet and wrists. Sacrifice is not being able to see my closest relative at all (I have FaceTime and Skype). Sacrifice is thorny crowns and beaten and scourged back. Sacrifice is, most of all, having every sin of every person -- including my own -- placed upon my sinless shoulders.
What I do is but a tiny, tiny morsel in a large, large meal.
Here's the point (and you knew there must be one). I woke up this morning. Life came again. Birds are singing. I've been called by God to help in some small way in the largest of all plays, that thing we still call life. That which culture wars can't take away is the joy that I feel. That which finances and old age and distance from home and my own thoughts of mortality can't bring down is the joy of having my mind stayed on Jesus.
Let's crank up the music, friends. We're alive. Let's actually act like it.