Of all things, I miss the trees the most. You wouldn’t believe the way they shimmered in the evening sunlight, dancing rhythmically to the Song of their Maker.
I first met my Maker with bleary eyes. First thing I ever saw was the warmth of his smile. He had just breathed his very life into my bones, and I watched my Maker’s eyes crinkle, and I think—I can’t say for sure—I felt the lyrics to the Song for the first time. For five days, my Maker spoke things into existence—weeping willows, bellowing mountains, fragile hummingbirds, roaring lions and the like—and all knew the Song down to their atoms.
“Our Maker loves us! Our Maker says we are good!”
This Song was the only thing we knew. First time I sang if for myself, it sounded so wonderful I wasn’t sure whether to cry, or laugh, or dance, but I sure felt like doing all these things. At times, it was loud and boisterous, with tambourines, cymbals, and all those other instruments we humans use when we want to make a ruckus. At other times, it rested soft like dew on all things the Maker made. I even knew another verse that my Maker wrote just for me to sing.
“My Maker loves me! My Maker says I am very good! I am his beloved child, and he is very proud of me.”
I’d watch in stunned silence as the Maker sculpted worlds I could never imagine.. All creation was so majestic then I can only use metaphors, straining to tell you what it was like. Our trees are acorns in comparison; our mountains are pebbles; our oceans are plastic buckets; our wild lands are sandboxes. Saddest of all, our best gardens are like thorns and thistles compared to the one my Maker made for me.
My Maker rose one morning—before telling the sun it could rise for the day—and I could tell he felt something was missing from the Song that sung his name. The Maker noticed I awoke, and with a knowing smile he said just one thing was missing and yet to be made. I wouldn’t fully understand right away, but the Maker said the Song needed one more voice. He said the voice would show us all something special about the Maker that I couldn’t pull off with only my voice.
I fell swift asleep, and I heard her before I ever saw her. I can’t describe what her voice was like, really, except to say that I’d never heard a voice that was both so similar and yet so utterly different at the same time. Together, we sang the Song, and the Song sang a little truer of its Maker.
“Our Maker loves us! Our Maker says we are very good! We are his beloved children, and he is very proud of us.”
From this Song we lived, moved, and had our being. We did the same things you do now, really: we told stories over campfires, we danced, we gardened, we made up games, we wrote new songs, we learned about things the Maker made. We walked with our Maker through it all. And we laughed! I never laughed more in my life! The only thing different, honestly, was we never dared put a question mark where our Maker had put an exclamation mark. If our Maker said we were very good, we sang of it. If our Maker said he would take care of all our needs, we trusted it.
Oh, our Maker loved us. Our Maker said we were very good. We were his beloved children, and he was so very proud of us.
I remember the first time we ignored the Song. Of course, you know the story. You’ve heard it in church pews and Sunday school rows, but I need you to feel that what I’m about to tell you next is the reason for the droop in my spine, the clothes on our backs, the inky black hatred, the pale blue hopelessness, the dreary gray loneliness, and the reason why home isn’t an address in a phonebook. It’s the reason why death is a chapter we can’t unwrite, and it’s the reason why we can’t remember the words to the Song anymore.
There was she and there was I. There was the serpent and there was the Maker. There was the promise that our Maker had open hands for all we ever needed, and there was the slithering whisper in our ears that he wasn’t telling the whole truth. And there was the tree that splintered the Song that made us all we were. I can’t remember who ate from it, honestly, and I don’t care. It’s like if you’ve got a huge gash in your leg. You don’t really care who caused it. You just want to be whole again. I don’t know who first grabbed it. I just know we chose to believe a ugly lie, and I can’t remember who—or whose—I am anymore.
I hear the Song every now and again, but most times I can’t make it out very good. I spend most of my life using people. It’s not that I hate them, really. It’s like I’m trying to squeeze the old Song out of them. I can barely remember the Song anymore, which is a frightening thing because back then it was the only thing I knew. Nowadays, the Song haunts me. It’s like when you can hear a song going on in the other room, and it’s so beautiful you rush to the other room to hear it more, only to find it always sounds like it’s in the other room.
I hope our Maker still loves us. We once were very good, but the days are long since I’ve last heard him say my name, and all creation—myself included—can’t help but feel the distance between us and our Maker.
I can only hope he still has a new song yet to sing.
photo credit: ME, coming back from seeing family in connecticut.