There are encouraging words out there. Just sit quietly, listen closely, and you will hear and see the laughter, tears of gratitude, tears of healing, prayers of faith and smiles of hope. (photo by nps.gov)

 

Home on the range

 

“Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam where the deer and the antelope play where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day.”

 

I love that song from the cowboy era. Every time I heard it, I just pictured myself on a horse standing on a hill overlooking hills and meadows with the bubbling stream winding from the mountain peaks on the horizon. There are hawks and other birds soaring above me in a big blue sky. No sound but the wind, birds and the stream. No bills to pay. No yelling, screaming and the sounds of horns honking. No sign of crimes committed or families ripped apart by violence or negligence.

 

Now, some of you have jumped to the conclusion that Ray has lost it and is in la-la land. Others have no clue of what song I just quoted. That’s OK, because it’s not the song I’m leading to, but what the song represents to me at this time. It’s the verse of a song of peacefulness of the heart, quietness of the mind, a strong faith, simplicity of life and hope for today and tomorrow.

 

Lately I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the news, national and international. The news is dominating of hatred, violence, hopelessness, financial hardship and disease that affects individuals and whole nations. In the midst of this discouraging reading, I come occasionally to an article that talks about sacrifice, love of neighbor, benevolence, caring, an enduring faith and righteous courage. Stories are shared of hope, like flowers in the midst of thistles. I read of money donated to families in a great loss of loved ones or homes. I read about a stranger who parked his car at an intersection and helps an elderly man in a wheelchair across a dangerous corner. I read of a man standing at the checkout line behind a young mother in tears who could not afford to buy diapers for her child when she is short of money. He not only reaches out and buys for her the diapers, but all her other items she desperately needs. “Where seldom is heard a discouraging word.”

 

I can’t actually sit on a hilltop on a horse and see and hear all the quiet and peaceful views and sounds. However, I can see and hear of the goodness happening around me between the sounds of hopelessness and my heart is on that hilltop. I can see the flowers in the thistles verses the thistles with an occasional odd flower. There are encouraging words out there. Just sit quietly, listen closely, and you will hear and see the laughter, tears of gratitude, tears of healing, prayers of faith and smiles of hope.

 

 

By Retired Chaplain (Brig. Gen.) Ray Bailey

Former Deputy Chief of Chaplains