As the sun began setting late this afternoon and I drove home, my car overheated and broke down. Hey, it happens when you drive an old car, and as I sat praying, waiting for it to cool off, I noticed the sunset. Up above the parking lot, the sky was a cloudy canvas of pink and purple, like brushstrokes of watercolor. Thankfully, the car was fine and as I made my way home, looking up at the sky - I saw a flock of birds flying together in patterns (By the way, I totes just Googled "What is a group of birds called," and I'll have you know, we could've used "fleet", "flight", or "congregation"...... moving on.) And they just looked so peaceful, so graceful.
Like they didn't have a care in the world.
Free and happy, just floating above in a pattern, flying off to wherever they chose.
And if I were to be honest with you tonight, I would tell you I've been thinking about how scary life can be lately. I don't really know why. Maybe it's because I see cancer taking far too many young lives around me; far too many dreams dashed; far too many good people treated badly, misunderstood; far too many financial losses; far too many "what if's" and worries that threaten to creep into our minds late at night, stealing our joy.
But this afternoon, I was reminded ... all the way home and the rest of the night, I've had an old song stuck in my head. I finally YouTubed it, and my eyes welled with tears as I listened to it's passionate proclaimers belting out the truth -
"When Jesus is my portion, a constant friend is He.
His eye is on the sparrow
and I know He watches me."
Remember that old hymn? I will never forget when I heard it belted out in the movie "Sister Act II" - my sister and I borrowed the VHS from the local Blockbuster (remember those??) when I was about 11. When that scene played and those gals sang that song, it was the first time in my life I ever got emotional while watching a movie.
Friend - if you need a little dose of hope today, you should click here & have a listen. (I know it's a kinda corny video, Whoopi G in all her nun garb glory on the cover. But it's truly such a beautiful rendition!)
My absolute favorite line of the hymn is this:
"I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free -
His eye is on the sparrow.
And I know He watches me."
I am so thankful I can sing - out of a heart of happiness and a spirit of freedom -
for no other reason that His watching eyes,
guarding and protecting me.
No matter what happens, we can sing.
And that's a beautiful freedom to have.
As I researched a little online, I found that Civilla Martin, writer of the lyrics, said this of her inspiration for writing the song. Moving, y'all:
Early in the spring of 1905, my husband and I were sojourning in Elmira, New York. We contracted a deep friendship for a couple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle—true saints of God. Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for nigh twenty years. Her husband was an incurable cripple who had to propel himself to and from his business in a wheel chair. Despite their afflictions, they lived happy Christian lives, bringing inspiration and comfort to all who knew them. One day while we were visiting with the Doolittles, my husband commented on their bright hopefulness and asked them for the secret of it. Mrs. Doolittle's reply was simple: "His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me." The beauty of this simple expression of boundless faith gripped the hearts and fired the imagination of Dr. Martin and me. The hymn "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" was the outcome of that experience. —Civilla Martin
We can all access that peace, that hope, that joy.
But do we???
Love, my friends -
"Look at the birds of the air,
they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,
and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they?"
"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?
Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care.
And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
So do not be afraid;
you are worth more than many sparrows."
PS - I promise, my Christmas surprise is totally coming, to a blog post near you!! SOON.
photos from pinterest.com/sweetnessitself