Besides spending a lot of time in my home and out in my yard the last four months since life has changed, I spend hours each week driving around in my car. I take my mother out on “joy rides” to get her out of her condo on a regular basis. We are always on the search for sights that display beauty or bring us inspiration. Of course, it is all relative to how you choose to look at things. I try to choose uplifting and positive takeaways.
I have begun to see innovative ways people throughout my neighborhood and community are trying to encourage others. Even when we are not able to get out amongst people like we did before the COVID crisis, we can still send messages to one another to spread some goodwill.
Here is a sign posted in the front yard down the street from my house. It encourages me each time I drive by and reminds me to give my anxieties and cares over our current situation to God.
Yesterday, while driving with my mother, we discovered this “Happy Tree.” It must have been created by children. What a fun activity to decorate a tree with all things that make you happy. In the close-up you can see some college team logos as well as some candy wrappers. I love seeing ways for children to express themselves in a positive way.
While visiting Epworth By The Sea Christian conference center in St. Simons, Georgia, we found this prayer posted under glass inside the chapel. Heartfelt sentiments are expressed here that I could not articulate in regards to the tragic events around our country during the last few weeks.
We went for a family trip to the coast of Georgia this past week. It was refreshing to my soul to see God’s untouched and untainted creation. Sticking my toes in the sand was a pampering treatment that I have sorely missed. Watching crabs and birds scurry beside the receding ocean waves was amusing. It was good to laugh at them. Nature has a way of reaching down deep into our spirits and helping us commune with God.
We visited a beach with driftwood and gnarled upturned tree stumps. It was uniquely beautiful! A wedding must have taken place there before we arrived as we found a wilting bouquet of flowers amidst the debris.
While we were there, we visited a Methodist retreat center known as Epworth By The Sea. What a beautiful place! While here, one can walk through the grounds with serene Spanish moss draped oaks. You can read memorials to loved ones who have passed on after serving God through ministry. There is a small chapel where you can stop to pray. It was remarkable the number of prayer requests that we noticed were written on pieces of paper and piled in a box in the little vestibule. It was a sign to me of how much pain, discouragement and suffering many are experiencing right now. We walked around enjoying the view of the marsh when suddenly, the bells from the little chapel began to chime. Slowly, I began to recognize the hymns that were playing. The words from their refrains flooded back to my memory from childhood. “Faith of Our Fathers” and “Let There Be Peace On Earth” bellowed throughout the garden. It was a very special moment. I sang along with the chimes the very appropriate words for today.
“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be. With God as our Father, brothers all are we. Let me walk with my brother in perfect harmony. Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now. With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow. To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally. Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me”.