I come to sit in the creme-colored wingback chair–the one Jon doesn’t like. Coffee mug in hand, I prop my feet on the old oak chest which belonged to my great aunt, Lucille. It’s hard on my heels and I grab a pillow off the sofa to tuck under them.
I sit still and listen.
It’s still dark outside. I heard an alarm go off down the hallway when I first entered the kitchen, so I know someone’s stirring, but I’m not at great risk of being interrupted. Not yet anyway. The pipes begin to creak as the water heats up and, although she’s the first up, she’ll also be the last to surface.
I didn’t make it up as early as I sometimes do–having slept good and hard following several nights in a hotel bed with a girl who’s all knees and elbows–but early enough to snatch a few minutes alone I hope.
I’m disappointed the birds haven’t yet tuned up and, just as the thought crosses my mind, I hear one strike her first note. It’s a single note which she holds long before trilling up to a higher, shorter one at the end. She pauses afterward before repeating the same pattern and soon her tune becomes a steady and dependable rhythm.
My insides groan when I hear footfalls approaching from the hall, knowing by their force these are determined ones belonging to a boy ready to eat and not slow ones signaling he’ll prefer first to cuddle.
“I want breakfast,” comes after a sleepy and stifled “Mornin’ mommy.” He can’t seem to stop rubbing his eyes. “I’ll get it in just a minute honey,” I say, adding that I want a few minutes to listen to the birds.
“Wanna come lie on the couch?” I’m attempting to teach him and our other early riser to sit quietly for the playing of dawn’s early chorus, hoping to stretch out the time they’ll stay still longer and bit by bit. I’m not entirely sure why but it seems both silly and important all at once.
He makes his way over, pouring his body onto the nearby cushions, but his heart’s just not in it and he soon heads to the table to see if I’ve laid anything out. A complaint rises up about the single choice of cereal–the last box in the pantry everyone’s been avoiding–and I instinctively know he won’t be talked into it. Not today; not with these tired motions. Like the smell in the air, ripe before a storm. He’s primed and ready for an outburst.
I make a quick decision to toast a muffin in order to buy a few more minutes of peace rather than suffer through intermittent complaining trying to hold on to the dream of remaining seated and motionless.
Although I’m forced to walk out of earshot, when I return to my previous perch I can tell my feathered friend has recently switched from her first melody to a different one. She belts out a new note a couple dozen times, sharp and staccato, and finishes out with a longer trill at the end. She’s really popping now. Her earlier tune must have been her equivalent to my son’s sleepy-eye rubbing since she goes about this new song with fresh energy and purpose.
I feel I’m less alone when the birds start in on their morning routine. I know I wasn’t alone before but their songs remind me of the Lord’s faithfulness. His mercies new every morning. Never failing. After all, these are the same creatures to whom we’re told to look because our heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
A second child appears and, like her brother before her, she’s not happy with the box on the table either so I toast another item from a box in the freezer and since time insists on marching on, I determine I’d better get in the swing of things and start packing more and different food items in baggies and boxes. I would’ve preferred another few minutes in the wingback but at least I had some and the peace of them will carry me through any bumps the next hour will hold.
I wish I were more patient and didn’t need so much time alone to get my wits about me. I love sitting in the quiet though; crave it like an addict to her drug of choice.
Hours later I sit again, now working, and a songbird comes to land in what I can only assume is a similar spot to the one from which I was serenaded this morning. Although I can’t see her it’s as if she’s right beside me.
Raindrops fall full and hard off the plugged-up gutters which hang over the front window and, as I watch them fall, I can distinguish the sounds of three different birds, each sticking to its own scripted melody, all hopeful and bright, but distinctly different in tempo and octave, and the trio reminds me of Father, Son, Spirit. Always close-by. Each singing his own tune, blending together to make a beautiful chorus, one decidedly more in sync than the separate variations I hear now.
I’m also reminded I have my own notes to sing. My own voice and my own range and, depending on the day and my mood, I will sing them how I please, at a pace and volume of my own choosing and I hope and pray my song meets someone listening on their way and makes a pleasant sound. One that serves as a reminder of His constant faithfulness. A melody that’s as sweet as the songbird’s.
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