Music in the Woods

On a warm spring day last week, I decided to take my writing project and go to “the park.” For the million or so visitors who come to our corner of Georgia each year, it’s the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. But for those of us who live in its backyard, it’s just “the park.” Fifty-three hundred acres of lush woodland, walking trails, and open fields riddled with cannons, stacks of cannonballs, and monuments to the soldiers who fought and died there. Driving down a tree-lined road, you feel enclosed and almost as if you’re in a green, underwater tunnel. It’s wonderful. I found a quiet cove and made my nest in it. I’d been there an hour or so when, over the sounds of the birds, I heard bagpipes.  

They were so loud that I should have been able to see the pipers, but I never did. They played tunes I didn’t know. Their plaintive notes were sad, but also comforting. Like having a good cry, when you really need one. I listened and looked for almost a half hour, but never saw the musicians. Sitting there, I felt homesick for something, but I wasn’t sure for what. It was a beautiful spring day and I was blessed to be spending the afternoon in one of my favorite places. There was a soft breeze and the trees and fields were alive with birdsong. And then, this gift of haunting, mysterious music filled my heart to overflowing. Perfect. That’s what it felt like. So much beauty and emotion in this moment, this place. So where was my homesickness coming from? Why was I longing for something or somewhere that I couldn’t even put into words? 

Because, even in those rare moments in our lives when everything is just perfect, deep in our hearts we know—-this is NOT as good as it gets. We know that we come from a place that is different from our lives here on earth. Different and perfect in every way, but not alien to us. For how can our true home be alien to us? I think the magical moments we have here on earth are magical because they remind us of where we come from. And that makes us homesick for heaven.  

Sometimes we try to imagine what heaven will be like. I’ve heard descriptions of it that put me to sleep. That make me say, “If that’s heaven, count me out!” It sounds dull and flat and well, boring. But that couldn’t be further from the truth of it. For in our heavenly home is all the love that has ever been created. There is all the sweet mercy and acceptance of a thousand lifetimes. And there is all the beauty, for heaven is where all the beauty comes from. Peaceful. Exciting. Mind-blowing beauty. We know it. We remember it. And we were made to return to it. To return to Him. Our Source. And our Father.  

So the next time your throat catches when you hear a beautiful song. Or you get teary-eyed at a stunning painting. Or you feel overwhelmed at the sight of a baby’s smile. Or even if you feel homesick when you hear bagpipes playing in he spring woods….imagine that feeling, but a million times over. And that will give you just a hint of the pure, enduring joy that God has created for us in heaven. This world can be ugly, and full of pain and sin. But it is also very beautiful, because it’s a reflection of our real home. He left heaven to live here with us and He died to open the doors of heaven for us. We are so very grateful. 

“I see the heavens opened.”

                             —-Acts 7:56 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Margaret Parker Brown
    Apr 30, 2017 @ 23:16:39

    A beautiful post…..I love your photo and I can’t imagine hearing the pipers while you were there in that little piece of heaven.

    Reply

  2. kph52013
    May 01, 2017 @ 11:08:25

    Because we are made in His image, that little piece of heaven within human beings here on earth is called the presence of God.

    Reply

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