One Step at a Time

Psalty, the singing hymnbook, was popular when our kids were small, his character in musical scripts made them catchy and upbeat about encountering the trials of life with a song in your heart and on your lips.

In the last couple of chaotic weeks, with teachers and students meeting all kinds of challenges, it seems that the world could use that approach, too.   In Psalty’s camping adventure, climbing the mountain is proving very difficult, but not if the campers remember to take “one step at a time.”  Or, as my preschooler, singing around the house, pronounced it:  “one ‘tep at a time.”   We still quote her phrase when any one of us is in need of encouragement or perseverance.

In her TED talk, resilience researcher Lucy Hone gives a heartfelt talk about how people cope with the inevitable hard times, how she lived through the loss she experienced that took all her abstract research and made it very real.  After posing a series of difficult situations to her audience, and asking them to stand if they were affected, there were very few left sitting.

We feel less alone if we understand that suffering is part of being human,  Those who have suffered intuit the suffering of others,  begin to reach out to them.  They learn to be grateful for the beauties of the small things all around them.

In her book, “Everything Happens for a Reason,”  author Kate Bowler talks about the gentleness of the oncologist who reminded her as she faced her worst fears: “Don’t skip to the end.”    Jesus told his followers not to take any more than one day at a time.   None of us can successfully predict the future, though we do our best to plan for contingencies.

Now that the kids are grown, I find that the person who has most benefited from Psalty’s cheerleading song is me.  I can let stress and worry about kids and grandkids and our community take over, or give it over in prayer, then concentrate on just doing the next thing as best as I can.  As my husband plots his garden path, his home-fashioned garden stones are laid down one at a time.

While COVID-19 is a struggle for Canadians, most of us have shelter and our basic needs are being met.  Fall has its joys, too, the cooler days tempting us to cook delicious soups that simmer for long hours, or bake a fresh batch of oatmeal cookies.

There is so much to be thankful for!  So we keep going.   One ‘tep at a time.

From Scratch

“If you wish to make
an apple pie
from scratch,
You must first
invent the universe.”

Carl Sagan


All creation has a language,
Words to say what must be said
All day long the heavens whisper,
Signing words in scarlet red.
Amber rays and crimson rainbows
Twinkling stars and flashing light
Punctuate the heavens’ statement
“God is glorious, perfect, right.”

All day long the sun proclaims it
Like a Bridegroom dressed in white
Coming from His tent to greet them
All His guests feel his delight.
Words of love and warmth He whispers
Warming all who hear His voice
“Oh, be glad and share My table,
Dance and celebrate . . . rejoice!”

All creation sings His praises
Earth and heaven praise His name
All who live come join the chorus
Find the words His love proclaim.

Gloria Gaither, Michael W. Smith

It took a bit of digging, but I finally found my old tape on which Steve Green sings this beautiful anthem of praise, part of his collection The Mission.  Though our digital age has progressed light years beyond music on tape, to me it still feels like it’s not yet time to let my collection go.  Amazing, then, that while technology has continued to evolve, the content of this song still rings so true.

Just this week, a friend was talking about how astronomers continue to find worlds beyond worlds in the heavens. This is just one area of our creation.  In a myriad of fields, people spend lifetimes, their curiosity leading them to more and more awesome discoveries, more and more questions.  Surely this wonder and awe at creation is something beyond all differences and divisions of religion, something we all can share, God talking in pictures to each one of us.  The Anthem echoes Psalm 19:

“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 reveal knowledge.  They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.  Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the end of the world . . . “

And so, in this common grace, all tribes and peoples are given the opportunity to truly worship the Creator.  Conversely, as the apostle Paul notes, none of has an excuse for unbelief: when we are unwilling to acknowledge this amazing Designer, we are forever illiterate, unable to decipher the awesome messages His world conveys of God’s grandeur and glory.