There are simply times when all that will do is a particular song, sung by a particular person or group, in a particular context that comforts, celebrates, or just reaches beyond words into the heart and soul in a way that, if only for a moment, offers whatever strength, hope, and promise that is needed. His Eye Is On the Sparrow is one of those songs/hymns for me. Most particularly the version Lauryn Hill sings in duet with Tanya Blount from the movie Sister Act II. I wasn’t all that impressed with the movie, the plot was fairly predictable and the surprise of Whoopi Goldberg as a nun was really used up in Sister Act I. But the quality of the music and the musicians in the sequel lifted me and still lifts me when life seems a little too much.
I’m on vacation, and as is usually the case, I got started a day late. I’m like the worst vacation taker ever. The good news in that is that I love my work. Seriously! And I love my office and my books and my colleagues and staff, and the privilege of serving the people that are the life of Grace. I know that sounds a bit sappy, but it’s true for me (most days). So it’s often difficult for me to leave . . . but it’s also important to leave nonetheless. To leave what’s regular and structured and comfortable and similar and consistent and ‘count-on-able.’ (I’m allowed to make up words, I’m an old English major). It’s important to get a change of scenery and live outside of routine and maybe, just maybe, admit we need a bit of rest of heart, mind, and spirit.
And it just so happens that my vacation coincides with the Olympics – God is so good! I really didn’t plan it that way but it’s wonderfully serendipitous. While I’m not planning on spending the better part of my time away in front of a television, it’s still nice to flip it on at any time and instead of watching the non-reality of reality t.v., that’s a whole nother blog post for later, we get to see and hear the stories of those who have undergone various journeys and life-stories to reach the height of their sport. And somehow the fact that it’s a global event that includes the smallest and most unknown of countries to the largest and most recognized of countries adds to the feeling that at our best, we know how to get along, to win and lose with respect, and to accept our differences without need for violent conflict. An amazing concept really.
So the scenery is a little different where I am, and in the course of the next few days, I’ll begin to release the regular rhythm of my weeks and receive the gifts of rest and re-creation. And somewhere in the midst of the pause I may find it more accessible to hear and assimilate and cut loose with . . . “I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free! For his eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.” Don’t worry too much, I’ll only cut loose singing while I’m in my car touristing around the sights, not where my short-term all-too-close neighbors might call the authorities. You all might withstand my musical enthusiasm, I’m not sure the people from New York staying across the wall would be so forgiving. I will be inviting them to Grace, you never know where life might take people.
I wish for all of you pauses that refresh and songs that fill your spirit!