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My Father's World

“Sis, let’s take a drive to Jiggs and Maude’s to see the dogwoods and redbuds,” my granddad would say on a sweet spring day when we visited at Easter time. My mom and I would load into their boat of a car, Mom in front to enjoy the opportunity to be close to her dad, and me in the back with Grandma Willis’ busy hands and crochet projects. No wire hanger was safe in the presence of my grandmother, as the harsh metal things were wrapped in looped yarn and adorned with a plastic flower corsage within a few days’ appearance.

While my parents loved coastal living in Southeast Houston, there were things my mom missed about her hometown of Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Two of those things were redbud and dogwood trees. Hours were spent playing under my grandparents’ weeping willow tree as I heard the call of a mourning dove or saw a pair of brown bunnies nibbling along the fence line. My aunts collected fossils, rocks, colored sands of the


Are we strong Americans possibly being myopic in our outlook on our Father’s world?


Southwest, and they loved birdwatching. Our people were reared to notice the beauty of creation, and to know the Creator.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to appreciate more the influence of my mom’s family in my life. My twin aunts were very adventurous, and took opportunities to serve by teaching at an Air Force school in England, in missions in the Philippines, and leading as a principal at a Navajo Indian reservation school. They’d bring me dolls, games, and stories of children around the world, and I’d tell them that one day I would live someplace that had the decency to give me snow in which I would lie and make a snow angel like I’d seen in books and movies.

Now, more than ever, I acknowledge that they helped to expand my horizons. While I realize there are plenty of people to help on my own street and in my hometown, my globe-trotting aunties opened my eyes to the riches of interacting with people from all over the world to share the Gospel of peace. Although I’m not a fan of the prosperity gospel, I do believe that all of us have rich resources at most times in our lives. We might have the resources of time, our gifts of service, the gift of encouragement and support, physical touch, or goods and money to share.

Traveling as a first-class passenger on an Indian train to Delhi several years ago, I sat by the window as my eyes took in miles of impoverished people: children in rags standing close to the train tracks, third-class trains headed in the opposite direction teeming with people hanging out of the windows. The need was overwhelming, but my heart was touched as I saw my friends who lived there doing what they could to improve the lives of the people they could impact. As they helped to create jobs and opportunity for individuals, those individuals had money to spend to help the economy of others.

I’ve been pondering a lot the last few days as I have stayed in contact with hometown Houston-area friends who still have standing water in their homes. People are pitching in, neighbor helping neighbor. They’re not waiting for the government to help, and there are t-shirts and signs all over proudly posting of their being strong. I wonder if experiencing devastation and having to flee on foot from a home with only the clothes on their backs and a few Hefty garbage bags will create in Texans a stronger compassion for people suffering from calamities around the world. When they see how easily folks can team together to clear out a house of soggy carpet and foam, and cut back two feet of drywall and have it out by the curb in an evening, maybe it will transfer to partnering with efforts to improve lives around the world.

Are we strong Americans possibly being myopic in our outlook on our Father’s world? If we believe He created this world and everything in it, giving us dominion over the plants, animals, and resources, and commanding us to love our neighbor, should our concern for His creation be bound by man-made borders?

Maybe like me, you’ve felt a tug to get more involved with concerns around the world, to reach out to people who don’t look like you, talk like you, smell like you, or worship like you, but you don’t know where to start. One thing I’m trying to do is broaden my media intake. Instead of solely watching local and national news, I’m going to plug into BBC. On Saturdays, I’m going to the local Barnes & Noble to pick up a New York Times to supplement my occasional browsing of our local newspaper.

I’m increasing my support and involvement with international students who are attending our local university, and I’m enjoying every minute I get to spend with our family friends who’ve sought refuge in Northwest Arkansas from Congo. I’m hoping to support my friend Patty who’s the new director of the Ozark Literacy Council, which offers English classes to our newest residents, and I’m going to try to make small improvements on my consumption and carbon footprint, slowing down enough to be able to enjoy the beauty around me.

And I might continue to sing the sweet old hymn that’s been in my head all day today:

"This is my Father’s World"

By Maltbie D. Babcock

This is my Father’s world,

And to my list’ning ears

All nature sings, and round me rings

The music of the spheres.

This is my Father’s world:

I rest me in the thought

Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas—

His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world:

The birds their carols raise,

The morning light, the lily white,

Declare their Maker’s praise.

This is my Father’s world:

He shines in all that’s fair;

In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,

He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world:

Oh, let me ne’er forget

That though the wrong seems oft so strong,

God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world,

The battle is not done:

Jesus who died shall be satisfied,

And earth and Heav’n be one.

Teresa Cornett's favorite question from others is "what do you think about......?!" so she loves to write when she gets a chance to mouth off.

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