The rays of the warm sun dance in the ripples along the banks of the beautiful Kanawha River. She watches close as her children play in sunbeams. The look of total contentment on the little hen’s face is infectious as I watched her through the lens. Taking care not to disturb her moment of total bliss I stay back and take advantage of the zoom. I believe that she is living in her purpose. She finds her fulfillment in the joy and well being of the flock. She is a part of her world as opposed to passing through it. I watched as the others pass by her rock one by as if inviting her to join in with the aquatic parade as they gather into a cluster. Eventually she gives in and they all swim single file upstream and disappear behind the rocks. I returned my lens to its case as I set out to find my next subject and the next moment of peace to preserve. This image now hangs above my bed to remind me that I’m also a part of God’s creation. And, that I’m at my happiest when I’m living in my purpose.
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It’s in those moments of peaceful contemplation that you really get to know the voices the speak to your spirit. We all have theses inner voices that speak to us throughout the day. The voice that tells you that you have chores to do, the voice that talks you out of doing those chores. There’s a voice of confidence. ( Be careful about this one because he can get you into trouble. ) There’s the voice of doubt. ( Also not to be fully trusted. )
I suppose that if we were to take inventory of all these inner voices that the list could be quite long. But the one I want to focus on is the quiet one. The voice doesn’t speak often. He patiently waits for an opportunity to make his point. The quiet one doesn’t compete with the other voices. He doesn’t have to. He doesn’t argue or complain. The quiet one is logical and honest without being judgemental. The quiet one is the voice of Truth. He’s that Still, Small Voice. He is the voice of God. One of my atheist friends once expressed concern ( while smirking) about people who think God speaks to them. My only answer there is that God speaks to everyone, it’s just that not everyone listens. As I said, He doesn’t compete with the other voices. He simply waits to be heard. This why in a lot of my writings I like to focus on the opportunity to sit in quiet and peaceful places. It’s why I strive to push back the world with its ads and loud voices that attempt to dominate your every thought. Because when that Voice Of Truth speaks I don’t want to miss out on what was said. His words are life that added to my day.
I remember wearing my dad’s work boots when I was a little kid. The tops his boots came to my knees. I clopped around the house carrying his big lunch box which I had filled with Little Debbie’s Snack Cakes telling people that I was going to work. I could barely stand up in dad’s boots. My dad taught me to work hard. He was a telephone lineman and I can remember times when the phone would ring in the middle of the night. A storm had brought down the lines on some windy ridge and dad would be called out with his partner to restore service. In the days before mobile phones a downed line could be a matter of life and death for people with health issues. As I began to grow I became obsessed with the day I would be as tall as dad. I would beg him to stand back to back with me so mom could compare our height. It was dad who first taught me hunt. I can still see him knelt down on the old logging road pointing out the difference between buck and doe tracks. As the years passed my dad imparted a lot of the attributes that make me who I am today. And, even though I’m several inches taller than he is I still can’t fill his shoes.
I think everyone has had that feeling that they just don’t fit in at some point. In fact I’d say it’s multiple points for most of us. The temptation is to forsake one’s individuality for sake of the crowd. But isn’t that lying? It’s one thing to be polite and respectful towards other opinions but it another thing altogether to fein total agreement. What’s more is that when the truth eventually comes out the others in the group will feel betrayed. A true friendship can handle some individualism and if it can’t then it was never a true friendship in the first place. It was only mimicry.
Being your own person is often difficult. There’s going to be conflict and in today’s world a large portion of population is under the misunderstanding that disagreement and hate are the same thing. They most certainly are not. God could have created a world of clones where everyone is exactly alike. Everyone would have the same opinions, the same ideas and the same looks. How boring would that be? There would also be no fresh ideas, no variety and no excitement. I’m starting to meander here so I’m just going to get to point. Don’t be afraid to stand out. Sure there’s going to be people who don’t accept you because they can’t handle anyone who doesn’t mirror them but do you really want to burden yourself with such a shallow person? Just be yourself.
One of the things that I look forward to in the summer is when friends gather together just to hang out. We make little mini holiday as a framework. There will be Homecoming Sundays at churches and family reunions in addition to the birthday parties and anniversary celebrations all summer long. We’ve been holed up in house for winter and any excuse to get out into the sun is a good one. We see old friends and acquaintances in the parks having lunch just because it’s Tuesday or Wednesday. Mankind was meant to be social. It’s our nature to be together for at least a little while. Even the grumpy old curmudgeon wants someone to curmudge for.
Here in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia such gatherings are often accompanied by live music. Typically a “gospel sing” will feature bluegrass style music and a potluck dinner.
Whatever the occasion or excuse it’s all about coming together in fellowship and brotherhood. All that’s needed is a warm day, chores that are finished and good friends.