Friday, July 19, 2013

I Remember

"Green as spearmint..."
God recently spoke to me while I was driving around...through a store mannequin. No, I'm not losing my marbles (yet), and no I didn't hear an audible voice. But I was reminded of a few things that I needed to hear...let me try to explain.

Stephen Sondheim, renowned American composer and lyricist, wrote a ballad that for some reason has long been a favorite of mine; my flavor being an arrangement sung by renowned jazz vocalist Mark Murphy. The song is about a store mannequin who somehow escapes and gets out into life for awhile, but then the magic is gone and the mannequin is back in the store, remembering. The song is aptly titled, "I Remember." Take a moment and read the lyrics, or you can listen to it here;

I remember sky, It was blue as ink, or at least I think, I remember sky.

I remember snow, soft as feathers, sharp as thumbtacks, coming down like lint.
And it made you squint, when the wind would blow.

And ice, like vinyl, on the streets
Cold as silver, white as sheets, rain like strings and changing things, like leaves...

I remember leaves, green as spearmint, crisp as paper.
I remember trees, bare as coat-racks, spread like broken umbrellas.

Parks and bridges, ponds and zoos,
Ruddy faces, muddy shoes,
Light and noise and bees and boys and days.

I remember days, or at least I try.
But as years go by, they're a sort of haze.
And the bluest ink, isn't really sky.
And at times I think, I would gladly die, for a day of sky.

Think for a moment. What if a store mannequin really did escape and had the chance to experience life for a few moments, or days, or years, but then had to go back to being a mannequin? What would they tell us? The power of this song, of course, is its call to us to slow down and see the beauty around us, and not to move so fast through life that we miss it all.

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
     the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
     night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
     no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
     their words to the ends of the world."

(Psalm 19:1-4)

As a Christian, I believe whole-heartedly the Scriptures that proclaim that God has revealed Himself to us through His Creation. I also believe that God has designed us to need rest...a day called "Sabbath." A day to slow down, a day to connect to Him, a day that should be different from the other six. I believe that the "noisier" my life is, the harder it is for me to hear God. I've written on this before (click here), and as summer is in full swing I find myself fighting to live out what I believe.

I am a fast mover, my wife always trying to get me to slow down. What I need most on the Sabbath is to sit, read, rest. To get out into the wilderness, talk with God (which includes listening) and bask in the beauty of His creation. To observe things; a bird, an owl, the summer breezes, a sunrise or sunset. To listen; God speaks through many voices, but almost all of them are hard to hear if I don't slow down. I am learning...slowly.

What about you? Do you move through life so fast that maybe a store mannequin appreciates creation more than you? What is your plan? Do you have one?

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