I live in a safe and peaceful neighborhood. Our house is in a sub-division of 82 houses with only one entrance and two streets. I live near the rear of the sub-division. The houses across the street back up to the Chattahoochee River. So it is not uncommon for deer to stroll through our neighborhood and across our front yard and enjoy the "salad bar" of flowers.
Although our lot is small the trees, shrubs, and ivy covered fence, make the backyard rather private. Neighbors behind and beside us are fairly invisible due to this green border. My wife, a Master Gardener, has devoted many hours (and more than a few dollars) to establishing gravel paths and flower beds with a colorful variety of flowering plants and greenery. Our backyard is a place of beauty and tranquility. I am not always conscious of that but as I was sitting on the patio early one morning I realized how blessed I am.
It had rained a lot the previous few days so everything seemed to be more vibrant than usual. Birds covered the feeders and flitted about chasing one another through the trees. Several chipmunks scurried about eating the seeds that the birds dropped to the ground. A couple of squirrels were persistent in trying to get to the bird feeders. Fortunately (from my perspective) they failed so they settled for joining the chipmunks foraging on the ground. The only sound was the occasional flutter of wings and the melodious songs of the birds.
The beauty of my surroundings was overwhelming. The gift that God and my wife had provided me was incredible. I am so richly blessed and I was reminded of something I hear often and it sometimes seems trite, but not this particular morning. We are blessed to be a blessing.
As I pondered the grace of God that allows me to live in such a serene setting I became aware of another reality. The birds, chipmunks and squirrels kept a close eye on me and if I made even the slightest move or made any sound the little creatures rushed away. They were fearful because they thought I posed a danger to them. I wanted to tell them, "I am not going to hurt you," but there was no way to communicate with them.
I wondered how many people live in an environment more like the little creatures of my backyard rather than like the man who sat on the patio. While I enjoyed beauty and peacefulness, how many others are constantly on guard to avoid harm and destruction? Earlier that morning I had read the latest news about the plane shot down in Ukraine, the violence in Israel and Gaza, the Nigerian girls who were kidnapped three months ago by terrorists, the plight of the thousands of unaccompanied and undocumented children arriving at our borders from Central America, and the death of a sixteen month old boy at the hands of his mother's boy friend.
To say that life is not fair is a gross understatement. As I enjoyed my moment of beauty and tranquility I prayed, "Lord, let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. As you have blessed me, help me to be a blessing to others."