Friday, April 22, 2011

Following my heart

I've written before about my love of birds, the love of feeding them, identifying their kind, gazing upon their beauty and talking about them with friends (Hi Sherri!). Once I had a painted bunting eat from my feeder. It just so happened to show up when the battery in my camera was dead. But it really happened. I swear. It was so glorious an event that I got one of those chest tightening, heart-cramps. I tend to get those easily anyway but this one was big. Rodney happened to be here to witness it too. Not only did he see the amazingly colorful bird sweetly eating from the feeder, but he was also here to witness my come-to-Jesus, speaking-in-tongues, hallelujah, praise God, moment unfold before his very eyes. And, amazingly enough, he continues to live with me.

I was watching Oprah the other day. I've always been an Oprah fan but since she is beginning the countdown to her final show (only 24 left), I'm pretty diligent to watch every one. On Wednesday, her guest was Tom Shadyac. He is best known for directing Ace Ventura, Liar Liar, The Nutty Professor, and Bruce Almighty. Definitely my genre of movie. I'll not go into the whole thing, but he was speaking about his new documentary called "I AM" and the principles behind it. He was speaking about following your heart, not taking more than you need, and living in a cooperative community. I was really fascinated by the whole thing. I was also very happy to note that I am basically following all of these simple principles.

The show was still on and right at the point when they were discussing following your heart when I looked out my window and saw an unfamiliar bird.
I ran to find my camera (battery fully charged thank you very much) and zoom lens to snap some pictures. It was so odd that there was a conversation going on about following ones heart while I was snapping pictures of a bird. Photography is, without doubt, one of my hearts desires as is bird watching. God was just having a moment with me, reminding me of this. After I took the pictures, I got out my bird book (that thing is about worn out) and identified it as a blue grosbeak. If it had a little more of a crest on it's head, he'd look like a blue cardinal. I read every detail about him and was fascinated, not surprisingly, that he is only this color during mating season. He's been hanging out in my front yard, and frequenting my feeder. I believe his mate is hanging around too, although she is such a dull brown that she blends in with the cow birds. I'll not expound upon my dislike of those cowbirds other than they are squatters in the most literal sense.

All of this pondering my heart's desires got me to thinking about it's roots. Where did it all come from? I love to hear stories about my ancestors. Like how my great grandmother Green was very creative. I thought of her a lot when I was painting my kitchen cabinets bright red, wondering if she was looking down from heaven and admiring my work. My Dad's mother was a hoot and a half. She was a little Irish woman...and full of herself. Sometimes when my tongue outwits my brain, I pause and pay respects to her shrewd cleverness. This is the woman that, when faced with something fearful or upsetting, would say, "that makes my hiney want to suck a lemon!" And there was no explanation needed. I knew what she meant.

As for my love of all nature, I owe that to this woman.

I still remember so clearly pausing with her to admire every little flower hidden in the grass. There was one occasion I remember being in the back of the pick-up with her when Papaw pulled the truck over just so we could get out and pick wildflowers from the side of the road. There was something so authentically blissful about the way she touched their petals and asked me to look at what God had done. I don't believe that we ever passed up watching a sunset when I was staying with her on the farm. "God is an amazing artist" she would say. There was always a pair of binoculars hanging by the door so we could look out over the land, watch birds, and see what might be happening down at the pond. I keep a pair by my door now.

Remembering all of this also makes me aware of how much I'm missing because of the TV, computer and iPhone. My Papaw never was big on TV. When he and Mamaw were living in the "little house" in Gillham while building the "big house", there was no TV. I stayed a whole summer with them in that little house. It is probably one of the defining summers of my life and probably a big reason why I wanted to live on a farm so badly. When we (my brother and cousin, Jeremiah) would ask why there was no TV, Papaw would say, "look out the window. You don't need TV". And we didn't.

I like to follow my heart. I am thankful that God has allowed me to follow it almost exactly where I've wanted to go. And, I'm thankful for those who've inspired me to be who I am and who continue to encourage me to keep dreaming.