Somedays, you get an unexpected gift plopped right in your lap. That’s exactly what happened to me. The gift was an eight-month-old bundle of cuddles; I’ll call him Timmy. He’s one of the babies I keep in our church nursery. Timmy had been running a slight fever, so the daycare asked his mom to come and get him and that’s how I got my present for the afternoon.
Timmy arrived on a warm Texas afternoon just slightly cooled off by a blessed pop-up rain shower. I grabbed my well-worn grandmother’s crazy patchwork quilt and out we went to the backyard under the shade of the red bud tree. We settled in to watch my silly chickens in their coop clucking their stories to us, competing raucously for our attention. Their shenanigans illicited impromptu wind chime like giggles from Timmy. It seemed like he and the chickens were carrying on a back and forth conversation. They sounded kind of like those choruses we sing in church where the song leader sings a lyric, and the congregation answers with a melodic phrase, creating a responsive liturgical cadence.
As the afternoon hummed lazily along and Timmy tired of socializing with the chickens, we gravitated to the porch swing. There we nestled into absorbing the panoramic view of the chaotic order of my late summer garden. I started to sing and swing gently. I felt him slowly grow limp one limb at a time in my lap. The quieter we got, the more we heard the natural garden lullaby. I hushed up my gravely old lady voice and we listened, really listened.
Floating over the distant sounds of cars driving by, the garden voiced its own tunes with the accompaniment of water trickling in my fountain. The bees added their insistent thrumming as they feasted on nature’s nectar punctuated by the percussion of rustling leaves where lizards slithered through undergrowth. I watched Timmy’s downy head slightly pivot this way and that following the paths of flitting butterflies and dive-bombing hummingbirds.
A great airless calm, like a recycled jelly jar over-turned on a lightening bug, settled down over us as the rhythm of the swing, the beat of bird wings, and the song of the insects hugged us in nature’s lullaby. I settled into contemplative thought and Timmy settled into a heavy, healing sleep.
If we could settle into God’s lullaby of peace just as the innocence of a baby succumbs to the lullaby of sleep, how rejuvinated would we be?
God repeatedly, endearlingly invites us into his dependable, authentic peace, unlike the temporary, artificial peace the world offers.
Why do we arch our backs, rebelliously squirm, and annoyingly whine our resistance to His offer of peace?
You shall indeed go out with joy and be led forth in peace. Before you, mountains and hills shall break into songs of joy, and all the trees of the wild shall clap their hands.