WHEN I FEEL A SENSE OF WEARINESS CREEP IN, be­cause the queue of dead­lines seems to be get­ting a lit­tle too long, I find it help­ful to oc­ca­sion­ally stop for a few min­utes and al­low my mind and heart to re­lax.

Some­times I’ll step out­side onto the bal­cony or I’ll sit in my chair near the large glass doors and give my sore eyes a break by looking out at the beau­ties that fill my view. From my van­tage point, the scene is one of abun­dant trees and over­grown fields, with moun­tains ris­ing in the dis­tance. The dense clus­ters of trees have a deep green hue that has a sooth­ing ef­fect just from looking at it.

I imag­ine the birds must think the same thing, be­cause ev­ery­where around the house teems with birds of dif­fer­ent types and sizes and col­ors. The bright yel­low birds are my fa­vorite. They’re not only beau­ti­ful to look at, but they also have a strong, cheer­ful song.

As long as I fo­cus on the dis­tant beau­ties, it’s nearly im­pos­si­ble to feel any­thing but in­spi­ra­tion. Un­for­tu­nately, like life, all isn’t per­fect when I fo­cus in closer. Heavy black and gray ca­bles slash through the beau­ti­ful scene just feet from the bal­cony like ugly strikethrough lines across a framed pic­ture. They try to cap­ture my at­ten­tion as if at­tempt­ing to mar the beauty of this per­fect gift. Across the lit­tle street be­low, a small house is topped with a large satel­lite dish, and an old, un­used con­crete light pole stands askew in the mid­dle of the scene with its up­per sec­tion missing and spikes of rusty re­bar shoot­ing out of its top at all an­gles. It seems

to serve no pur­pose other than to in­ter­fere with na­ture’s color and de­sign.

I was try­ing to re­lax dur­ing one of these pause times, but in­stead found my­self looking a bit too much at the draw­backs of this oth­er­wise beau­ti­ful scene when God be­gan to chide me in His spe­cial way through a lit­tle skit, with His crea­tures as the main per­form­ers. As I watched, a bit put off by the less-than-in­spir­ing ad­di­tions to the set­ting be­fore me, my fa­vorite yel­low bird landed on the wires just a few feet from the edge of the bal­cony and be­gan to sing me his choice lit­tle tune.

All of a sud­den, those wires lost their ug­li­ness, be­cause it struck me that if it hadn’t been for them, this lit­tle an­gelic en­cour­ager wouldn’t have been there singing to me. As I be­gan to re­lax, a pair of ra­di­antly red birds perched them­selves on the satel­lite dish. They looked so com­fort­able and peace­ful, and they stayed there for a long time, giv­ing me a chance to en­joy their lit­tle in­ter­ac­tions with each other. They seemed to be com­mu­ni­cat­ing so en­thu­si­as­ti­cally that I could al­most imag­ine them dis­cussing the events of the day. My fo­cus and en­joy­ment in ob­serv­ing them seemed to make the ug­li­ness of the an­tenna melt away as it be­came a stage for this cheer­ful in­ter­lude.

Then the crown­ing event un­folded as dark clouds be­gan to quickly roll in. I ex­pected the lit­tle show was over, but I was about to see that it had just be­gun. As the rain be­gan to pour down, an en­tire cho­rus line of swal­lows and spar­rows ac­com­pa­nied by my yel­low en­cour­ager and sev­eral red birds be­gan gath­er­ing all along the black wires. They were chat­ter­ing hap­pily in the rain, let­ting it wash off the dust and dirt of life, as they play­fully hopped and cheeped like a bunch of lit­tle chil­dren play­ing in a sprin­kler.

The down­pour only lasted a few min­utes. As the sun be­gan to peek out again from be­hind the black clouds, I looked on my spe­cial view in a way that I hadn’t be­fore. It struck me that so much about what we face in life, es­pe­cially in the short term and up close in hec­tic times, can look so ugly and seem to be ru­in­ing our view of the hopes and dreams of the more dis­tant future. But so much can change if we let God show us how those seem­ingly ugly things that get so in-our-face at the mo­ment can at times be the av­enues for the bless­ings and beauty and awe that He wants to bring into our life. If we could only re­mem­ber that they are just the stage be­ing built, on which He can give His most pre­cious trea­sures of joy and hope and the re­minder that there is beauty in ev­ery­thing He sets be­fore us.

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