Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Song

Construction starts early at San Diego Mesa College.  The music of jackhammers filled the air, accompanied by bulldozers, nail guns, backing beeps, machines I can't identify.  I walked across campus yesterday morning and tried to pray.  The noise makes it hard to think, let alone talk to an invisible God.

And then, the construction sounds stopped abruptly, and the steady din of progress was replaced by the trill of a bird.  The melody caught my attention, and I stopped to listen, looking up through the trees to see if I could catch a glimpse of the artist.

My eyes followed the sound of the song past the fourth floor of the G building to the roof, where a to gray bird with red neck sang boldly, perched on the edge of the roof.  He gazed across campus, looking past the eight-foot fences blocking the construction zone.  His song stood out in contrast with the construction zone noises of a moment before.

As I marveled at the beauty of the song, I realized that if the jackhammers hadn't stopped, I never would have heard the bird, but that wouldn't have stopped him from singing. His voice and his song would still be beautiful.  I never would have seen the bird, but he still would have been there, perched on the roof, looking out over the campus.

I thought about God.  Zephaniah 3:17 tells us that the Lord takes great delight in his people; he rejoices over us with singing.  I like that image and thought of it as I stood in the middle of the sidewalk, listening to the bird, looking up to the top of the roof.

Sometimes I don't hear God's song.  The noises of my life block out his voice.  I get caught up in the things I have to do, in what-ifs and oh-nos.  I get busy, and I don't take time to listen.  But that doesn't mean God's not speaking.  It doesn't mean He isn't singing.  It doesn't mean He's not there.  It just means I'm not listening. I'm not noticing.

The jackhammers and backing beeps started up again.  I continued my walk to the library, but because I had paused to listen to the bird, because I had grown familiar with the notes of his song, I could still hear the bird's song punctuating the sounds of construction. I smiled, and my heart filled with joy.  I wondered if anyone else noticed the bird's song.  I wondered if anyone else was listening.

I tried to hear the bird's song when I came out of the library a few minutes later, but notes had disappeared.  I knew that didn't mean they were gone.  Somewhere, the bird is still singing.

Just as I had learned to listen for the voice of the bird in the midst of the noises of campus, I can learn to hear God's voice in the midst of the noises of my life.  And the more I hear his voice, the more I will remember: No matter what, God is still present.  No matter what, His voice is still there.

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