THE SOUND OF NURTURE
God is uniquely into sound. All His creation sounds. In Revelation 1:15, John describes God’s voice as the sound of many waters! Imagine those sound waves! Down through the ages of history there has been sound, from the sound of Rachel weeping for her children, to the snorting of horses in battle, to the sound of modern-day atomic warfare.
But let’s focus on the sounds that warm the heart. The rustling of the wind in the trees, the ominous cry of a seagull, the pound of waves on the shoreline, the haunting cry of a loon on a northern lake, the crackling of cedar chips in the fireplace on a cold night, the sweetness of a child’s song while playing contentedly, the thrill of violin, violas, cellos, clarinets, bassoons and trumpets in harmonious crescendo of a Mozart symphony, rain on a tin roof as if a thousand tap shoe cleats were dancing, and even the familiar sound of distant thunder. These are but a few I've heard and love.
Yet, there is a sound that took me by surprise. For almost eight years, I lived on a ranch in the beautiful, yet rugged terrain of northern British Columbia, Canada. Caribou country to be precise. Our old log home was set on a hill overlooking sloping hills, and the winding Fraser River. Nancy and Colin and their daughters, Serene and Pearl, spent one wonderful white winter Christmas with us in this home. Evangeline came separately on a previous occasion, but that’s another story of riding horses in the last western frontier of the Chilcotin!
I was raised in New Zealand with a father who was famous for sheep and wool. Little did I realize I would tend my own flock of sheep on a different continent. These woolly creatures became my joy, and I began to experience something of the Shepherd’s heart to the sheep. Once a year, lambing season came, and it was full-on, hands-on, round-the-clock, checking, and rotating mother ewes and lambs, not to mention constantly cleaning pens.
I’ll never forget the first year. Our large barn was like one giant nursery. It was in this milieu I discovered “the sound." As I loitered at each pen, watching the ewe with its new-born, I noticed the mother’s bleat change. Instead of a baah, it had become a soft, gentle mmmm, mmmm mmm, over its young. It was a delightful and surprising sound. It warmed my heart. It was the “mother coo," so to speak! You could take a tough ewe, put her in a pen with her newborn and she would transform into a gentle cooing dove! Mind you, don’t try to take her young! This now gentle sounding ewe would at the same time, stamp her hoof and get ready to do battle!
All we like sheep! It’s in them, it’s in you.
Mother, can your “little lambs” hear the sound? The sound of nurture… the sound of protection... mmmm, mmm, mmmmmm!
Kingston Springs, Tennessee, USA
Kate is Nancy Campbell's sister.