Floey and I had quite a conversation during our morning walk yesterday…
Early in the walk, Floey trotted over to the biggest shade tree between the sidewalk and the street and rolled onto her back. Then she twisted and turned to rub every inch of her back on the cool, shady grass. Next she lay still on her side for half a minute, and then she continued rolling back and forth.
“What are you doing, Floey?” I asked.
“Oh, this feels so good, Mom. I love it. The cool grass is giving me the perfect massage for a hot day. You should try it.”
“I haven’t rolled in the grass for at least 60 years. I remember doing it when I was a kid. The lawn sloped downhill for about 50 feet on the northeast corner of the farmhouse. Sometimes on hot summer days, Danny and I would roll down the hill just to cool off, get dizzy, and laugh at how much fun it was. When our cousins or other friends were playing with us, we’d form a “monkey pile” at the bottom of the hill. And then race to the top of the hill to do it all over again.”
“So, you should remember how good it feels to roll in the grass, Mom.”
“I guess I do. Do you know what else I remember as one of the great experiences of summer when I was a kid?”
“Baling hay? Wasn’t that hard work, dirty work, and painfully hot?”
“Well, I used to think so. But one day when I was complaining to my mom about having to work so hard in the heat, Mom said, ‘I just love to bale hay. I wish I could do that instead of going to the office to work on a beautiful summer day. It’s so peaceful to sit on top of the tractor, to feel the warmth of the sun on your back, and to watch the birds next to the hayfield perched on thistles surveying their kingdom.’ I thought about what she said, and the next day when I had to bale hay, I was aware of the sun on my back, and I looked for the birds on the thistles. I noticed the butterflies flittering above the field. When I started to feel hot from the sun beating down on me, I noticed a little breeze come up that made me comfortable again.”
“That sounds like fun, Mom. You know what I really like about summer, almost as much as rolling in the grass?”
“What’s that, Floey?”
“I like to stalk gophers. Sometimes they’re so oblivious to what’s around them that I can sneak up really close before they notice me. I can almost catch them before they start running for their life and duck into a gopher hole. I sometimes wonder if they just duck into the first hole they see, or if they really go back to their own hole.”
“What would you do if you caught one?”
“I don’t know. I don’t think I’d kill it, which is probably what they’re expecting. Maybe I’d just ask it to play with me. Maybe we could play tag. I’d love to do that. We could chase each other really fast!”
“That would be fun to watch – a gopher chasing you.”
“I don’t think it will happen, Mom.”
“You know what else I really like about summer, Floey? All the smells. Did you catch a whiff of that sweet fragrance we just walked by? I don’t see it, but I know there must be a linden tree in bloom nearby. “
“Yeah. I smelled it, Mom. But my favorite smell of the summer is hamburgers on the grill. We usually don’t smell that during our morning walks, but I smell it quite often when we’re out walking in the evening. That’s also why I like to sit out on the deck with you when you grill steak or hamburgers, or even salmon burgers. Even when you’re barbecuing chicken. It all smells so good!”
“You know, Floey, summer is the best time of the year to experience delight with every one of our senses – beautiful flowers to see and smell, birds in the trees and frogs in the pond singing happy songs from early morning to late evening, fresh strawberries and raspberries to taste (and steaks, too), and cool grass to roll on to feel a soft cooling sensation… I’m so glad God created us with senses to enjoy all these things.”
“Me, too, Mom.”
“I read something last week that said this is one way God talks to us.”
“I guess I can believe that. Do you remember just what you read?”
“It was from the devotional book, JESUS CALLING. Sarah Young, the author, paraphrased Jesus as saying:
I speak to you continually. My nature is to communicate, though not always in words. I fling glorious sunsets across the sky, day after day after day. I speak in the faces and voices of loved ones. I caress you with a gentle breeze that refreshes and delights you. I speak softly in the depths of your spirit, where I have taken up residence.
You can find Me in each moment, when you have eyes that see and ears that hear. Ask My Spirit to sharpen your spiritual eyesight and hearing. I rejoice each time you discover My Presence. Practice looking and listening for Me during quiet intervals. Gradually you will find Me in more and more of your moments. You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me above all else.
“The author referenced Psalm 19:1-2 (among other references) to make it clear that God really does speak to us through our senses, not just words.
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 display knowledge. (NIV)
“Floey, isn’t it great to think that God is actually talking to us through what we see and hear and smell and taste and feel?”
“Wow! I need to think about that, Mom. Let’s keep walking for another half hour so we can fully sense God’s presence with us.”
“Good idea, Floey. We need to find time to “listen” to God. Thanks for helping me keep from being too busy to “smell the flowers” and too busy to watch and listen to whatever God may be telling me today.”
“And Mom, don’t forget to feel what God is saying through the gentle breezes and cool grass under the shade trees.”