Church Bells and Birdsong
In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct thy paths.
Church bells and birdsong resonate with me and touch the very fiber of my being. Memories are stirred whenever I hear the carillons in England and France, in town or in the country. So it is with birdsong: “Listen, listen to the twittering of the larks in the meadow or the song of the nightingale in the woods where the wild garlic grows!” repeat the voices from the past.
I am eternally grateful to the people who have taught me to listen to life – my mentors. One in particular springs to mind today: Marie Deloche de Noyelle, a woman of deep faith, who shared her home and family lore with me for over fifty years. As educators and parents, we shared hopes and concerns for our children, students, and the world in our weekly discussions over lunch in her small yet gracious apartment in Paris. In one of our final encounters in April, 2001, I asked her what advice she would give to young people today. “Look for the beauty in life, wherever you are, whomever you’re with, whatever you do,” she said. Simple yet profound words.
The kaleidoscope of my life enriches me constantly. I love to reminisce, to listen joyfully and soulfully to the music of your life and mine. I regard with grateful awe the beauty of the skies at dusk, and feel the pulsing power of the incoming tides on Lynn Shore Drive.
I am reminded daily of the theologian Henri Nouwen’s words: “The real question is not, ‘What can we offer each other?’ but, ‘Who can we be for each other?’” Perhaps we can start by listening – to church bells, to bird song, to one another, to God.
Prayer: “O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home.”