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Monday, June 15, 2009

This is my Father's World

* from our most recent trip to the Redwoods, June 8th.

My heart has felt burdened lately. I'm sure mostly because of the memories that are haunting me from a year ago, but it doesn't help that there are other things weighing on me. I wonder if my heart will ever know life without this feeling of grief following me everywhere. Does it ever really go away?

It followed me to church yesterday. I had already had an emotional morning. One of those where I had to keep re-applying my make-up because I couldn't keep the tears from coming. I hate it when that happens. I had to resort to the embarrassing task of firmly scolding myself in the mirror, "stop it! no more crying!" (And, it's even more embarrassing that that actually worked.)

When I arrived at church, I found my pew on the far right-hand side where I get my best view of Marc, as he sits up on the stand. (I love watching him when I get bored of the speakers... and always wonder what the whispers are that go on between him and our bishop. I'm sure it's much less interesting than it appears.)

I sat and closed my eyes as the organist played her prelude music. She is very talented and plays so beautifully. There is one hymn she always plays that I'm not familiar with, but there is something about it that carries extra comfort to my heart. Yesterday that was my gift. As I sat there with my heavy heart, the music wrapped its comfort around me. I thanked her later for playing that particular hymn in her prelude, but I wonder if she realizes it was at the top of my list of my "I thank thees" last night as I knelt in prayer before bed. 

In our brief exchange, she told me the name of the hymn. As she quoted me the words of the first verse, tears filled her eyes and I could see that the song meant something more to her, too. So, yesterday I spent some time searching for the hymn online and found six verses of beautiful words, which brought me to tears as I read them. I was surprised to also find a video of an organist playing it in the Conference Center. I'm still very partial to the way My Organist plays it, but the hymn is so beautiful I have to share.

This is my Father's World

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.

This is my Father’s world, dreaming, I see His face.
I open my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, “The Lord is in this place.”
This is my Father’s world, from the shining courts above,
The Beloved One, His Only Son,
Came—a pledge of deathless love.

This is my Father’s world, should my heart be ever sad?
The lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad.
This is my Father’s world. Now closer to Heaven bound,
For dear to God is the earth Christ trod.
No place but is holy ground.

This is my Father’s world. I walk a desert lone.
In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze God makes His glory known.
This is my Father’s world, a wanderer I may roam
Whate’er my lot, it matters not,
My heart is still at home.

Words: Malt­bie D. Bab­cock, 1901, alt. While a pas­tor in Lock­port, New York, Bab­cock liked to hike in an ar­ea called “the es­carp­ment,” an an­cient up­thrust ledge near Lock­port. It has a mar­vel­ous view of farms, or­chards, and Lake On­tar­io, about 15 miles dis­tant. It is said those walks in the woods in­spired these lyr­ics. The ti­tle re­calls an ex­press­ion Bab­cock used when start­ing a walk: “I’m go­ing out to see my Fa­ther’s world.”

*hymn verses and text came from this site.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


While Marc and I were out and about tonight, we stopped by my parents' house for a bit. Every time we drop by, I just have to admire their vegetable garden that is growing so lushly. It's one of my favorite retreats. As we went about running other errands, before I knew it we were at our local home improvement store, perusing the plant section. I thought I had decided I wasn't going to do a garden this year.

Turns out that I can't resist plants. We came home with a beautiful array of colorful flowers to plant in the empty pot on our front porch. I'm already looking forward to the welcome they will offer every time we come home. And, to fill the small, empty garden box in the backyard we found some tomatoes, sweet (irresistable) basil, and lemon cucumber plants. As soon as we returned home, I found my green thumb was anxious to come out. I spent an hour with my hands in the dirt, carefully securing our new plants, excited to have something to look after and nurture for the summer.

After scrubbing the dirt from underneath my fingernails, I started my preparations for my long Wednesday. It's my favorite day of the week that takes me down to the Bay and up to my little piece of heaven on earth. The two hour drive, each way, is so worth what I get in return.

With my hands busy with the peanut butter and strawberry jam (for lunch tomorrow), Marc joined me in the kitchen to get his hands working on dinner. He whipped out a delicious Mexican meal of black beans, mexican rice, corn tortillas, and other various toppings. It was seriously so good

As I was eating dinner (made even sweeter by the love with which it was made), thinking about our new garden, a cool breeze came in through the window. The smell of freshly cut grass suddenly joined my thoughts. I was reminded that there are small things that bring me joy. I keep feeling disappointed in not having the one joy we desire - having a child - but, tonight I was grateful to find joy come from some small ones.

A spontaneous whim to buy a few plants was my relief today.

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.

 - John Muir