Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: THANKFUL (11/14/19)
- TITLE: Awakening
By Marilyn Borga
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"Already?" I ask in exasperation. The answer is a rhythmic tapping of tail on floor. Minutes later I step out the back door with my buddy, who begins to sniff out every nuance in the dewy grass. In the relative silence of the backyard, I struggle to cast off my disgruntled mood.
Listen. Be still. Listen.
I take a deep breath and lift my shoulders. "Okay, Lord, I'm trying."
In the silence I hear a faint twitter in the branches above me; in the distance answering trills, warbles, and whistles increase in volume. Soon the air is filled with joyful chatter, a virtual symphony of avian voices.
"Thanks," I whisper. "It's beautiful."
Listen. Be still. Listen.
"I was listening," I say defensively.
It's a gift, he reveals. All of it is my gift.
So I sit on the wooden step in the morning chill. My dog is nuzzled next to me, content to bask in the early rays of sunlight. I try to lift the cobwebs from my mind. I listen again to the birdsong. Do they communicate with each other the way humans do? I remember watching a film about penguins. There were thousands and thousands of chicks there in the frozen wilderness. The volume of their peeping was deafening, yet in all the chaos, the penguin parents recognized the individual voices of their own young.
I think of how each human voice is unique. How is it that we can distinguish the voices of those we love from all the other myriad voices we hear in a lifetime? How is it that we can replay those voices in the depth of our minds, even decades after those voices have been silenced in death?
And how do we instinctively sense emotions from the sounds we hear? From infancy, we seem to be able to recognize distress, fear, or joy in our parents' voices. I contemplate the miracle of language, words that can describe every emotion, action, and thought; words to name every living and every inanimate thing in creation. I ponder the power of these words to teach, warn, or admonish; words that can tear down or lift up.
I think of how much music enriches our human experiences, whether through instruments or the melodious human voice. I remember an old friend whose ability to speak had been stolen away by a stroke. He hadn't uttered an intelligible word in years, yet one Christmas, some friends came caroling and he was able to sing along with every familiar song in a strong, clear, joyous voice. What an amazing mystery! My thoughts scatter in a dozen directions as I ponder these wondrous things.
My canine companion lifts an ear and lets out a quiet yelp. I am reminded that there are dimensions to sound that dogs can hear but that I can't. That leads me to muse about how sound travels and about the existence of radio waves. I can't see them and I don't understand it at all, yet when I turn on a radio, whole new worlds of sound become available to me. My soul is awakening with the realization of the immensity and complexity of this gift of hearing. And it humbles me to think that sound is only one small fraction of this immense universe He has created.
I can sit no longer. Suddenly I am up and dancing about on the still-damp lawn. My arms lift high, my rusty morning voice belts out a hymn of praise and thanksgiving. My dog eyes my odd behavior with confusion. Once my song is finished, I ask him "Want a treat?" I laugh as he begins his own wiggly dance of thanksgiving.
Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises. Psalm 98:4 (NKJV)
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