When you’re sick you have plenty of time to think. It’s not that linear, logical thinking that solves a problem or takes you somewhere…but rather the more common pattern of short visits to many places and times, conscious and subconscious links. The impetus, an awareness of the brevity of time and the fragility of these human bodies.
We bought our first house for $29,000 in southern California. It sat up on a hill in a small neighborhood overlooking avocado and orange groves, the main two-lane highway out of town, and the local high school. We had a new baby girl and a one-year-old boy. Each morning we would gather them in front of the old Heatilator fireplace to dress them, clothes spread out on a blanket on the floor. There was no furnace. Solid knotty pine lined the walls and vaulted ceiling, like a breadbox. Low white-painted wood windows met in the corners and a picture window faced out to the road and groves. We were happy with our little family, comfortable with just our couch, round tablecothed side table, leather chair, and antique pump organ gifted us when we left Georgia. We welcomed our second son in that house. I hung the diapers on the line down below the garage. Years later hubby’s brother and family came many Saturdays to work on replacing the old electrical wiring. Cousins played, dinner was cooked, and they became part of our lives.
These same nieces and nephews have all contacted us these past weeks, inquiring about our recovery, love in their voices. We haven’t lived close to any of them for years and rarely see them. How does this happen?
My mind jumps to the opening verses of Ecclesiastes. I had chosen to read through this mysterious book in the Bible last spring…still winter, really, at the cabin. Still cold. Still gray. Still isolated. Beauty warming imperceptibly just beneath the surface. Perhaps it was not the best time of year to read Solomon’s words “…And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to sons of man, by which they may be exercised. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.”
I remember my Daddy teaching Ecclesiastes to his Sunday School class the last year of his life. “How will your eternity be enriched by your relationship with the Lord today, here and now?”
We are recovering. The kids shop for us, check on us, encourage us. My hubby still sleeps with the sound of the oxygen machine.
Solomon continues, “I returned and saw under the sun that: the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill, but time and chance happen to them all…”
And in the last chapter “…Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
I am struck with how our later years are being spent in a cabin much like that first house…warm wood walls and ceiling tucking us in like mice in a breadbox. Low, white-painted wood windows bringing the outdoors in. Wood fire burning. We are happy in our simple place taking care of each other.
My hubby has begun to putter these past two days, scrambling our breakfast eggs, sitting at his computer. Good signs. Yes, time and chance happen to all in this world. We are no exception. Yet we know His eye is on even the sparrow…and that He watches over us and holds us in the palm of His hand. I can still hear Ethel Waters’ deep resonate voice rising gloriously from the blonde record player console…
Why should I feel discouraged Why should the shadows come Why should my heart feel lonely And long for heaven and home
When Jesus is my portion My constant friend is He His eye is on the sparrow And I know He watches over me
I sing because I'm happy I sing because I'm free His eye is on the sparrow And I know He watches me His eye is on the sparrow And I know He watches I know He watches I know He watches me
His Eye is on the Sparrow