I felt my mother's small hand gently shaking my shoulder. My eyes flickered for a moment, then closed again in the bright light. But Mom shook me again.
"Come and see," she said, her voice a whisper.
My eyes popped open then. I knew there was something wondrous in store. I slipped out of bed and padded at her side into our living room. My brother was already there, kneeling on the couch as he stared out the front window. There on our front lawn was a pair of long-billed curlews. We were used to seeing sandpipers, but this large bird was new. We knelt there for some time, watching the pair peck at the grass, then make their way to the water's edge. When they were gone, the three of us dressed quickly and hurried to the beach to look at the tracks they had made in the sand.
As a child I was blessed to inherit a kind of child-like amazement about the world from my mother. She would often wake my brother and me to show us something new and wonderful. One morning there was a whistling marmot that had taken up residence in a pile of railroad ties beside our house. Another, it was a family of muskrats. Sometimes it would be the long-legged blue heron that fished in the reeds just beyond our door.
One of my most treasured memories of my mom is the day I happened to look out the window and see her sitting in a recliner on our front lawn. There were four tiny hummingbirds hovering around her. That was breathtaking all on its own, but it was the look on my mother's face that I've never forgotten. It was pure delight and awe and joy. My mother was passionate about the world in which we lived and she was able to communicate that to others around her, especially her children.
But over the years, as I grew, and as life "happened," that passion died. The world has a way of doing that to us. Disappointments dull our sensitivity to the beauty around us, pain and suffering make us oblivious to the wonder of it, and cynicism begins to live in us to the point of joylessness.
It wasn't until I became a believer that the world suddenly became an amazing place again. I remember the first spring just after I became a Christian. We were living in the Yukon and springtime there seems to arrive almost overnight. I wrote a poem to try and express it -
FIRST YUKON SPRING
Green so fills my eyes
alive and swelling
out of winter grey and white
in fields and ditches
and I wonder
was there life
before this day?
Truly, there was no life before that day. Life had dried up and blown away long before, leaving me like a dry husk, alone and miserable.
But on that day, the day when I asked Jesus to forgive me and to be the centre of my life, the dry husk drank in the living water of Christ's love and I came alive again.
The book of 2 Corinthians, chapter 5 verse 17 says - "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
I began to see with new eyes, or rather, eyes that had been reclaimed by Christ. And the world became a beautiful place once again, full of colour and vibrancy and even grace.
I owe that child-like sense of wonder to my mother, but I owe my life - the abundant life God promises all believers - to Jesus Christ.