Walking by Faith Alone

Music in the garden…

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On my walk to the Joffrey Ballet Studio every morning at 9:15, I pass a garden, enclosed by a 7 to 8 foot black iron fence. It is triangular in shape and filled with exotic plants that make seeing inside all but impossible. The area has become a mysterious dwelling for me, and my curiosity runs rampant wondering who owns it. There is a tree, Japanese maple, which grows in the center of the garden and under the tree sits a man in a stadium chair, playing music. He doesn’t sing. He doesn’t collect money; for even if we wanted to throw money, it would be lost in the thick jungle-type vines that grow on the fencing. No, he plays for a different reason.

It is sad, whimsical at times; sometimes, it is rejuvenating and spirit filling. The acoustic guitar resonates above the sound of the moving cars and the bustling of people. It flows through the crowds, enveloping us, inviting us to stop and hear.

I stood and glared through a peep hole in the vines, wondering who could be playing such beautiful music and why? His hair is brown with a slight curl, his skin light but darkening from the sun. He wears shorts and flip-flops and a safari type hat… but the music is mesmerizing.

I sat on the pavement with my back to the fence, not wanting to leave but tired from standing. When 10:00am rolled around, he stopped in mid-song, disappearing into the building which serves as a blockade to anyone wanting to enter the sacred dwelling.

Not far from where I was sitting, a lady began gathering her belongings, “Who is he?” I asked.

She paused only for a moment before walking over to where I was. “I have no idea. I’ve been coming here every day to listen to him for the past two weeks. He plays every day. Even in the rain.”

“Even in the rain?”  

Maybe he plays to God or a long lost lover. Maybe he is in therapy to overcome anger issues. Maybe he is a famous musician hiding from the public. Maybe it is none of my business the reasoning behind what he does; maybe I’m just supposed to enjoy it.

As I started my walk home, I decided not to take the subway. I wanted to think about God and people. Why we do the things we do… I’m a believer that God took time to create every life-form on this planet. Each pedal is counted and placed strategically for our enjoyment and every color of rose chosen to glorify Him. The Bible tells us that He calls the names of the stars in the sky and knows the number of hairs on our heads. The spider’s legs are shaped perfectly so that it can climb and weave its web. The songs of the birds vary because the combined singing must bring harmony to His ears. This world, intelligently designed, is a beautiful place made for us to enjoy by the hand of God.

The familiar quote entered my mind, “Stop and smell the roses.” When I think how many sunsets I’ve missed, new leaves budding on the trees, mountains gleaming in the distance, or light shimmering across a lake.  The butterflies I’ve overlooked or the smiles from people I ignored. I wonder if we all should just stop what we are doing and lavish the beauty of nature.

My grandmother, Mama Dolly, used to say, “Stop and smell the roses and while you are at it, pull a few weeds!”

I think she had the best idea.

Written by Nora Hatchett Almazan

June 30, 2011 at 5:36 pm

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