Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hallelujah Lessons

The other night in church this quote struck me:

"The way the 148th Psalm describes it, praising God is another kettle of fish altogether. It is about as measured as a volcanic eruption...The whole of creation is in on the act—the sun and moon, the sea, fire and snow, Holstein cows and white-throated sparrows, old men in walkers and children who still haven’t taken their first step. Their praise is not chiefly a matter of saying anything because most of creation doesn’t deal in words….We learn to praise God not by paying compliments but by paying attention. Watch how the trees exult when the wind is in them. Mark the utter stillness of the great blue heron in the swamp. Listen to the sound of the rain. Learn how to say Hallelujah from the ones who say it right.” Frederick Buechner.

A few weeks ago, I sat at the counter bar in my neighbour’s kitchen, explaining to her that I had this sense that this summer needed to be dedicated to nurturing my spiritual side. I’ve spent some time neglecting it these last several months (years?) and I felt a bit lost somehow, wondering how to reclaim my soul from under the meaningless rubble of my life. Last night, I think I realized that I just haven’t spent enough time saying Hallelujah. I’ve dedicated a bit of time to negativity, to seeing what’s wrong with my life and not the many things that are right with it.

So this morning, at 6:30 am, I ventured out with my dog to learn how to say Hallelujah. I powered down the NPR podcasts I usually listened to and just hiked. And listened. And watched. And thus began my Hallelujah Lessons.

Lesson 1: Embrace mud. Life isn't always clean and neat and my sweet pooch knows that there's fun to be had in the tricky, smudgy, sloppy places. Sometimes good things happen when we're not afraid to get our paws muddy. I'm gonna make more effort to overlook the things that bug me and find the gleeful, puddle jumping opportunity somewhere in the bog. Because if my dog can stand in a mud puddle with that smile on her face, then I figure I can.

contributed by Suvi