As days lengthen, I find it easier to wake at the first blush of dawn. A night owl by nature, I’m not one to leap out of bed at an early hour, but am roused for a moment or two before resuming my slumber. This summer, those wee hours have brought a pleasant surprise.
Birds begin their dawn chorus early; around 4 AM each day I’ve been awakened, then lulled back to sleep, by a loud, lyrical, if somewhat halting song of one which perches right outside our open bedroom window. The song is repeated endlessly, in the same tonal pattern, with pauses only long enough to hear the same song echoed in the distance. I’ve not felt moved to investigate at that hour, but have wondered aloud what kind of bird brings this song, which is vaguely familiar and strangely comforting.
A man works at a small deli cafe in downtown Bremerton where the service is always the same. Each guest is greeted with a smile, a pleasant voice, and a cheerful attitude. When it is your turn to order, you have this man’s undivided attention. Service is quick, efficient, and skillful, but never feels harried or rushed. It is not without mistakes, but those are corrected quickly and in good humor. It is obvious there are many repeat customers, all known by name and food preferences. I’m sure the work day there can be long and frustrating, as evidenced by the man’s occasional red face and puffed “Whew”, but business is booming. There is more than one way to feed people.
Our mail carrier still seems new to us, although she must have had our route for at least a couple of years now. Time flies - we had “Susie” for so long - and we still don’t know the current driver’s name. She knows us, though – waving when she sees us out, driving into and around our odd back drive to deliver large packages or bundles of mail, writing personal thank-you notes for Christmas goodies we leave for her. She’s rarely late and only misses on those few, impassable winter days. Regularity and trustworthiness are reassuring in a sometimes chaotic world.
Robyn is joy personified when she sings, her smile lighting up the church and encouraging others to join her in song. Dave, during his precious time home from sea, quietly and efficiently goes about clean-up tasks wherever needed - in the kitchen and elsewhere. Catrina shares abundantly - her love of scripture, history, literature, food, gifts, and time. Terry offers his gifts of humor and quiet determination while daily dealing with severe personal difficulties. Donna goes about her work behind the scenes with calm professionalism, cranking out whatever is requested and/or required. Michael willingly and conscientiously accepts the challenge of late-in-life fatherhood. Rebecca regularly sends cards whenever someone needs recognition or uplifting. Scott responds when needed and maintains a positive attitude no matter what. Martha goes with her own instincts and against the popular tide to learn to play the harp, willingly sharing her music with others. And Joshua, when required task and time seem long, repeats a quiet, graceful twirl with youthful dalliance. Common people, common actions - each lightens the load of life and warms the heart and soul.
And the bird that serenades me each dawn? My husband peeked – it’s the common Robin, singing loudly with uncommon joy.
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms...
For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have...
I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind.
1 Peter 4:10; 2 Corinthians 8:12; 1 Corinthians 14:15