Let’s look at the big picture

Published 3:42 am Wednesday, November 20, 2019

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On this sunny afternoon, multiple birds bob their heads at the feeder outside. If I were a true birder I’m sure I would be able to name each of them, but novice that I am, I’ll just say they are large and small, bright and dull. They seem to be enjoying the bird feed, and they are all getting along. No fighting over who gets the biggest portion or any such nonsense.

Wait! I see my favorite bird perching outside after many have moved on to another backyard. I adore bluebirds, and have been delighted to see several lately. For the past several years a mother has nested and raised her babies in a house next to our porch, but last year we bought a new house to replace the old one. It had decayed badly, but we failed to get the new one in its place in time for nesting season, and our bluebirds found another home.

Our new birdhouse was nice, but birdless last year, so that is why I’m so excited to see those beautiful bluebirds in the yard. Hopefully, the new has worn off the birdhouse, and some young mother will make a nest in it this year. I must have a lot of my farmer grandparents’ blood because I truly love wildlife, and watching trees and plants grow and mature.

There are just so many simple pleasures in life if I take the time to enjoy them. It has been such a busy time of year that I’ve not slowed down long enough to notice the subtle beauty of the changing seasons in the southland the way I usually do. When I still had arthritic joints I had to move at a slower pace; I think the years of suffering with arthritis actually helped me to appreciate the beauty of stillness.

I’m so blessed and happy that I feel like decorating, shopping, hosting parties, and all the things I love to do again. But, by the same token, I don’t want to forget how important times of quiet and refreshing are. Slowing down and noticing the beautiful world of nature is only a very small part of the equation. The important thing for me is to recognize the awesome wonder of the Creator.

I’m reminded of an old song we used to sing in church. I’m not sure who wrote it or even of all the words, but it went something like this.

It took a miracle to hang the stars in place. It took a miracle to save my soul, cleanse and make me whole. It took a miracle of love and grace.

If I watch the news I can become extremely disillusioned, but I try to look at the big picture. People both thrill and disappoint, but the seasons still change. The birds fly south for the winter, and the sun comes up each morning — giving us all another chance to get it right. Even the folks in Washington.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.