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March 20 Minister’s Message

“You're my place of quiet retreat; I wait for your Word to renew me.” Psalm 119:114


The expansive windows of my church study open to Florida sunshine. A hedgerow of greenery blocks the busy sidewalk beyond, creating the illusion that I work in a garden. I confess that I’ve always taken this view for granted, until today.


As I settled in my writing chair, a small child appeared beneath the greenery only a few feet from my perch. Given the slant of light on glass, I could see her clearly, though she could not see me. She paused, a smallish child about three, wearing a pink sundress, brown curls cascading across her shoulders. She held her hand just so, as if studying some mystery, hidden as she was from the gaze of the keeper who no doubt looked for her.


She might have been lost in a forest for all the towering green that obscured her view. Only she could see the hidden path that brought her to my window, a path by which she would shortly return from her hidden garden.


It will surprise me if she does not return. Young children unapologetically seek the quiet spaces, that den behind the couch, or under the table, to curl up and rest. My heart caught as she ran off, the sweetness of her Sabbath a gift in the midst of an otherwise ordinary day.


Shadows filter leaves, they settle now, anticipating day’s end. It’s spring they say, though here in the tropics you can miss the shift between seasons if you blink. I hold her still in memory, the child, care free, not yet knowing the weight of what could come, yet be.


I glance at the clock, there’s time yet, to walk, to rest, to curl up under a table in some secret space. If you’re inclined to join me, go there. Quit the room, the house, the yard if you must. It won’t take long. Remember to breathe, and notice with gratitude the tender curve of your hand.


Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland

Senior Minister, The Community Church of Vero Beach


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