Jeffrey's tie photo AdjudicationFeb2013005_edited-1_zps28b43723.jpg

This morning I iron his shirt and press a neat crease in the black pants. His dad ties his tie and we declare him handsome. He gathers his music and I drive him to the middle school where he kisses my cheek and leaves me.
Break a leg, I whisper, as that long yellow bus pulls away from the curb. His face grows smaller in the window and I just watch them go. He’ll be making music with his classmates all day—playing for judges who will rate their performance. They’ve practiced weeks for this—his teacher hired a special percussion tutor to work with him and his mates.
Are you nervous? I had asked, as we sat in the parking lot waiting.
No, not really, he said, shrugging it off. We’ve been practicing a lot.
I looked into his young face and saw that it is true. He is right here with me in this moment. No worrying about the next. Still, we prayed together and Lucy Mae touched his nose with hers (she always comes along for the ride) and I kissed my drummer-boy gone and his leaving left me empty.
Why do I? Why do I let things of this world make me nervous—make me worry—when I’ve prepared so hard? Is my practicing all in vain?
I drive home in the cold and my heart feels frozen.
Later, I sit with coffee and the Book unopened in front of me. I watch a downy woodpecker tap at the frozen suet in the feeder. He clings to the pole with his four toes—two in front, two in back—and hammers incessantly at the stubborn block.
I know how you feel, I murmur, through the glass.
With a sigh I open the Book—taking a random plunge…desperate for a word.
It’s Matthew 6:28-30.
And why do you worry about clothes? The NIV asks. See how the lilies of the field grow…
But my spirit wants the old words. So I rummage around and find them. I find these…
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin…
I stop here because, as a living Word does, it is speaking a new thing to me.
Thought for raiment…
Isn’t this what I do? Don’t I dress myself in my thoughts; let planning and learning and all that is in my head cover me? Too often, I take thought for raiment—not only do I worry about what I dress myself in, but I dress myself in that worry.
Consider the lilies.
Makoto Fujimura, in the foreword of this book by Christopher R. Brewer says of this scripture:
…Before we can seek God’s Kingdom and his righteousness first, we must learn to see the world around us, and consider (weigh carefully) the ephemeral lilies of the valley, which are here today and gone tomorrow (Isaiah 40). This lesson in botany…fundamentally shifts our focus from doing to being…In considering the lilies around us, we realize the grace of God being poured into use-less beings, and how Jesus risked everything he had, in order to pour God’s glory into us.”(emphasis mine).

From doing to being.

I leave the Book open and rise from the table. I’ve had my word. I move to the window and study the meadow. There is a flash of red that burns against the white of the snow covered Forsythia—Mr. Cardinal waiting a turn to feed. All the lilies of this field sleep beneath frozen soil but his carmine presence speaks grace over their slumber.
When did I get too busy to see the way the frocking white laces in and out of leaf and grass—woven with an expert hand? The way the elbow of the tree cups the snow with such tender care makes my bruised heart ache for such a branchy embrace. The meadow is dressed for a wedding and I almost missed my invitation.
Mr. Cardinal is joined by his bride and they crown this silvery gown—two blushing beaked lilies, preening just for me. 

With my Sandy today:


  1. Patricia Spreng says

    Ahhh…The meadow is dressed for a wedding and I almost missed my invitation….
    so glad you took me there this morning, Laura. Thank you. = )

  2. says

    i well remember my girls’ tense/thrilling music competition years …

    and, yes, handsome your young man certainly is … I’m guessing that he’s creative like his mama …

  3. Douglas Jenkins says

    …and your young man is making those incessant drumming noises, too. Is your heart beating to a wedding march? Or a swing rhythm?

  4. says

    The tie is marvelous.
    Your ‘raiment’ thoughts, too.

    Poet/Author Marge Piercy says the best gifts you can give a poet are field guides to rocks, stars, birds, amphibians, and wildflowers because help us learn to pay attention, to carefully look and listen, to discern differences in shading and song, in scent and setting.

    “As a poet or a novelist, you are a generalist in the old sense, and you ought to know everything you can. The wider your curiosity ranges, the more interesting metaphors will rise.”

    It is difficult, when constantly doing, to be rendered awake to our world. BEING, I think, is something we must be very intentional about, and in doing so, our DOING is served, not robbed. I wish I had learned this younger. 🙂

  5. says

    I think I need to look up this Marge Piercy, Marilyn. Sounds like a wise woman! I wish I had learned this younger too :). Still am–learning it.

    It’s nice to see you here. Your blog still eats my comments, so I’ve taken to “liking” when I stop by. Just a little calling card, I guess. How’s the snow up your way?

  6. says

    Yes, he is constantly drumming, Rev. Doug! I don’t mind until he starts using my head. Their band scored all Twos–which is second best to Ones. I asked him if teacher was happy and he said “yes”. They sure have worked hard.

  7. says

    He is my creative tender heart, Linda. But he could just as easily have inherited those traits from his daddy–another musician (who also has a tender heart). I’m so glad we’ve given him music. So many other school day activities get left behind when the school door closes for good. I think the rhythm is part of him now 🙂 Is it the same for your girls?

  8. Pam says

    Your boy IS handsome! Love this photo. And your beautiful heartfelt words. My close friend’s daughters were going through that same music judging today… How God blesses us through their music. And through the beauty of crimson cardinals. Lovely post as always…

  9. pastordt says

    Exhale. Thank you for giving me reason to breathe more deeply for just a moment here, in this quiet space today. Truly lovely, Laura. Thank you. (How’d the drummer boy do??)

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