“…we are here for God’s delight and to enjoy his creation….”
Two cardinals have made a home in my garden. I will take poetic license and say they are husband and wife. The male is a shade of red you can’t take your eyes off. He flutters from post to post among the tomato plants, brighter than the fruit I hope to eat. The female remains near the edges. She is reserved, like her muted color, and gives her counterpart room to boast.
I enjoy watching them from the patio, the way they dance in the air among my plants as if to the tune of jazz music. Then the two scatter and I can’t see them, but I still hear their singing somewhere in the trees above me. They are on this earth to delight God and enjoy his creation, and really is their purpose any different from mine and the household I keep? So, I remain in my chair, listen and drink a cup of tea.
I am of the age when my children and my children’s friends are getting married. As to the latter, in recent years I have received phone calls, sometimes at night when I am about to go to sleep. “Pastor Ben,” they say, “Will you do my wedding?” My heart smiles at their request.
In my mind they are still in grade school, the pack of them that roamed between school and church and often to our home. I can see them outside the kitchen window chasing one another through the backyard. Suddenly, like song birds in flight, the girls come bursting through the house with a delighted scream and run up the stairs to my daughter’s room. Then her door slams so loud I can hear it from the other side of the house. A moment later the boys are in fast pursuit. I hardly have time to turn my head back to what I was doing. They have picked up the female scent and run in the same direction. Like lightening before the thunderclap I can count: one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi and BOOM! Boys meet girls. I hear shouting and one of my own is calling for me, as a plea for help. “Dad, tell the boys to leave us alone.” But, not really, they are enjoying the pursuit.
Those memories seem not so long ago, but reality keeps me in check. There have been two more weddings this month. In both the groom had to take his sleeve to wipe his teary eyes when his bride came down the aisle. To each young man I looked at him and remembered who he chased. I thought to myself, “See what happens when you catch her?”
After they sealed the covenant with a kiss and were pronounced husband and wife, they drank and ate and danced long after my wife and I left and went to bed.
I hope that when life comes at them with crying babies and diapers to change, bills to pay, and a job that can feel like it owns you, they still remember to flap their wings and flutter like the cardinals in my garden. After all, we are here for God’s delight and to enjoy his creation.
“Ah, you are beautiful, my love; ah you are beautiful; your eyes are doves.
Ah, you are beautiful, my beloved, truly lovely.” Song of Solomon 1:15-16