My heart is deep in winter now. The sun mists the skies with rose, shyly and hesitantly, sometimes not showing itself at all. A winter silence has descended. Everything, everyone, is a little quieter. The white power of winter’s cold stays even the most garrulous and rebellious of spirits.
Every day, I sit by my window of waiting, looking out as far as eyes can see, over the distant hills and expanse of skies, waiting for hope. Even as feet hurry and hands remain busy, the winter has filtered out so much of the usual distractions; thus my spirit remains more securely anchored to this still waiting.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to our call. ~ Ephesians 1: 17 – 18
Where are You, Lord? I ask. Where is my hope? Winter or not, troubles remain, dotting the hills and plains with their resolute darkness. When will the Promise come?
How much longer, Lord? How much longer?
Sometimes, I chide myself for this watching, like a mother to myself, afraid I’d fall hard and hurt myself if hopes are long in coming true. Yet, an unseen Hand continues to hold me to my perch on the watchman’s wall.
This morning, rising early, looking out of the window, the thick white sky solemnly gazed back at me. Where is the hope that belongs to our call? I tiredly pressed into the watchful fleeces.
Then, I remembered a visit I needed to make. Hurrying to it, Someone was already there.
I heard a chirrup in the trees and looked up to find a robin, her chest puffed proudly, indifferent to the weather. “And yet the birds persist,” I thought. The robin still perches upon the bare branch and sings out her song for the world to hear—praise to her Maker. ~ Rebekah Durham, Praise in Winter
Praise in winter. Praise as the robin does, even in the deep cold.
I winced slightly. Praise was a ring I hadn’t worn much of this week. Or the one before.
I had an errand to run. I drove out, had it done. Driving back home, the radio turned off, I tried to seal my heart to God’s. I looked up once more at the white gray skies. A cheery westerly wind was blowing, making languid boughs bend forwards in welcome. Remembering the robin on the bare branch, I offered up the beauty of the day to my Lord in praise.
And then again, my thoughts returned to the troubles our family is facing, and I wondered, How do I hope right, how do I hope without breaking?
Suddenly, piercing the well-insulated car, came an unusually loud avian singing.
Stunned, I scanned the line of trees bordering the roads. How could it be? How could it be that I heard them?? I could not even hear the crunch of the car tyres on the road. If I were to have heard anything, it should have been that!
But instead it was the choir of little robins! Unseen yet strangely, so very close. In a way I cannot explain, they seemed to be flying alongside the moving car – which they weren’t!
The choir stayed by my ears as I drove into our home and got out of the car. Again, I was startled – they were our very own robins – patriarchs of the trees in our backyard!
None of this made sense to me. How could I have heard the serenade of my backyard robins, from more than 400 metres away, in a moving car, through completely raised up windows and secured doors?
As the winds continued their joyful ruffling in accompaniment to the gentle sweetness of the lilting robin hymn, I knew that Mother Mary, Queen Immaculate of my Saturdays, had brought me this beautiful miracle. Speaking through the tongues of birds, Mother bade me know that She heard me, that She was watching over my search for hope.
But more importantly, She asked that, as the robin sings, undeterred even in the deepest winter, awaiting the hope of spring sun upon the snow,
so must I.