Friday, March 01, 2013

Nannie Dairies :: Learning to Hum

Growing up, I spent quite a bit of time at my grand parents. They owned a small farm in North Carolina. My grandmother, affectionately known as “Nannie,” lived to be nearly ninety-six years old. She was blessed to maintain her mental capacities and relatively good health all the way up until the end of her life, which spanned over the course of nearly a whole century.

Since she was a little girl, she loved God with all her heart and endeavored to follow the ways of Christ in every area of her life. She was an amazing woman of faith.
One of my earliest childhood memories of Nannie is that of her humming. Humming while doing the dishes. Humming when snapping peas just picked from the garden.  Even while cleaning floors or toilets, regardless of the task, she could always be found humming.

As a child, to me this humming seemed like nothing more than background noise. I was unaware of what was going on. I was Unconscious to the realities at hand, as I was too consumed with my childhood pursuits of fun and games to notice and too naive to understand fully what these sounds meant. Yet these sounds, the sound of Nannie’s humming still echoes in my ears to this day!

During my twenty’s, during a visit home from college, it dawned on me that Nannie wasn’t just humming – she was singing. And, she wasn’t merely singing – these were songs. And, not just any songs – these were hymns. She was worshipping God…continuously.

It wouldn’t be for another ten or fifteen years before I would more fully realize and appreciate the rare quality this was to be found in a human. It wouldn’t be until I found myself surround by long work days, pressing needs and the necessities of life, not to mention three young children, who at times demonstrate more frequent fits of frenzy and sibling rivalry than the do the harmonious joy filled love shared among brother and sisters.

Moments and seasons to which one (present company particularly) would be more prone to sigh in exhaustion, rather than sing. Moments where the humming has long since digressed into mutterings about simply “getting along.”
It has been in moments like these, that I hear the echoes of Nannie’s humming rise up within my soul. Echoes of a woman, who had long since learned to rise above the challenges of life. In times like these, as the Psalm 78:7 says, she becomes “my example.”

A life that demonstrated the embodiment of the seemingly inconceivable admonitions of found in Scripture. Scriptures like Colossians 4:2, where the Apostle Paul exhorts us to “pray continuously.” Or, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19, where it commends us to “always be joyful. Never stop praying. And be thankful in all circumstances.” Or, as Colossians 3:16 instructs us, to “sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.”
These are Scriptures that can seem impossible at times to live. Yet, I know they are, because I’ve seen them lived. And, Nannie was my example.
When I grow up, I want to be like Nannie…

 “You have been my strength and protection.
That is why I can never stop praising you;
I declare your glory all day long.

(Psalm 71:7-9)

As you find yourself doing a seemingly menial task like taking out the trash, cleaning the house, mowing the grass or driving around town, begin utilizing these moments to intentionally worship God. Hum a song. Sing a hymn. Or, simply make up a sonnet from your heart to God. As with anything, the more we do this, the easier it will become and the more natural songs will flow. And, perhaps one day we’ll find ourselves just like Nannie – simply worshiping God all day long…