Monday, March 4, 2013

Looking up

"He who can no longer pause to WONDER
 and stand rapt in 
is as good as dead, his eyes are closed."
-Albert Einstein

While visiting dear friends over the summer they introduced us to the murmuration of starlings.  Starlings flock together in the evening to roost.  Before they roost they put on amazing displays in the air, each reacting to the others movements.  The individual movement of each bird colliding with hundreds of others to create  this artwork above.  We stood on the pier heads tilted up to the sky as they gathered and moved across the water.  It was as if they were all tied together in movement, one would tilt up and the whole flock swung up with it. A dip down and the entire mass flowed down almost touching the sea.  And then, all at once they swooped under the bridge for the night.  I had never seen anything like it. Until that evening I could not have even told you what a Starling looked like.

My dad is home.  His last stay in ICU another realization that we are in a new stage with this.  We were  prepped for the sudden taking, instead of the gradual.  And now decisions are to be made.  There are machines that can pump his blood and new therapies, medicines, and doctors.  Decisions that will limits his life but possibly prolong it.  And I listen to his response, face exuding peace.   "I would rather just live each day trusting God, and not spend it hooked up to a machine."  Fullest of life is what he wants. That and to trust God for the number of his days, not man or machine.  For the quality of the days to outweigh the quantity.  And as he said this I began to see that this last month I was trying to figure it all out.  Constantly peering through the fog, stumbling on the path with fear and doubt.  Thinking it was all up to us, all about us.  But there is such a bigger picture than the path in front of us.  I forgot the views to be had when not focused only on my feet and where they were going.  And I look up and see that what He has for us is so much bigger than where the path leads or how long it lasts.  In the looking up I understand why it so was exhausting to only squint nervously forward. So, we will not go from here looking at our feet shuffling forward into the unknown but  looking up to see the God who knit us together with a love and purpose too amazing to fathom.  This knowledge driving out the fear and doubt like nails.  We are standing, heads tilted up and eyes wide open to how big God is.

Driving home the other night I saw a small group of starlings.  No more than twenty, all on the ground, heads down looking for food.  We whistled loud and in that instant they lifted and swooped together in form.  Dipping and gliding past the treeline and into the sunset.
  If you have never seen a murmuration of  Starlings here is a two minute video of one.  It will help you understand the beauty of looking up and knowing we are a small part of the bigger whole:
Murmuration Video  

Isn't that amazing?  Imagine paddling, eyes fixed forward, pushing through the water with  land in sight and then glancing up to see that!  Praying that you will stop squinting ahead to figure out what is next and look up to the sky for a moment.  Look up to the One who gave you that moment and thank Him.  That you will quit bracing for storms ahead and look instead to the One who commands the wind and sea.  And that your heart will not be seized with fear but instead overflow with gratitude for the life given, 
and the life lived in Him.

"You hem me in - behind and before; 
you have laid your hand upon me.  
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, 
too lofty for me to attain."
Psalm 139:5&6