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.
…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: