we are called to praise, a letter to preston

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Preston and I write letters back and forth. We write about life, and laughter, grace and mystery, Gossip Girl and how we stumble through faith. Won’t you join us, and share your stories too? You can read Preston’s last letter to me here.

Dear Preston,

I can’t lie – today, my morning run sucked. It was humid already at 7:30, I was tired and my feet didn’t want to move. I barely trudged up the hills past my house. I cut the run short at a random street corner where a flock of third graders with thick plastic lunchboxes twittered to each other about summer.

I don’t know why today it was so hard to be thankful for nature, why I had to force myself to name things that are beautiful: lavender growing wild by a mailbox, the splash of a turtle slipping into the pond, the cheerful gossip of the birds. I usually know how to name those things, how to count those one thousand gifts. I usually know how to run with hands outstretched in joy.

I’m glad that it was hard this morning.

Maybe that makes me crazy – after all, who wishes for praise to be more difficult? – and I admit, I don’t really know why I think it’s such a good thing. But as someone who wants to spend her life holding beauty up to others as an offering? I think I have to learn how when the running is uphill and my mood is foul and nothing seems worth praising.

We are called to praise, Preston. All of us. Some of us praise by what we build in words and with two by four planks of wood. Some of us praise by the proofs we discover and the dinner parties we host. Some of us praise by sitting next to the seven year old while they throw up or solve division problems and some of us by prayer in a monastery in rural Kentucky.

It is not optional.

I believe that more now, having run down a street filled with beauty and wanted nothing to do with it. I felt for the first time the real tug of resistance, the tug of, “Oh, come on, it’s just a flower and a mailbox, it’s just birds, it’s just the morning, and who cares, really.” I wanted to say that to God this morning, to laugh that He spends His delight on something as un-spectacular as turtles in a pond.

photo by M. Ryan Groff

But what I will miss if I disobey His call to delight! I’m going to miss turtles in a pond and lavender by a mailbox and mismatched stones catching the sun in Italy. I’m going to miss sitting at my kitchen table drinking good coffee, singing praise for the world.

It was good for me to forget how to sing praise for a morning. It was good to resent it, if only to feel more the call to love what He has made. Maybe it is G.K. Chesterton, after all, Preston:

“But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun.; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic monotony that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never gotten tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

Photo by Jessica Fairchild

Today, may the delight of God in this world overwhelm you with the desire to put words to your praises.

Love, hilary



7 thoughts on “we are called to praise, a letter to preston

  1. Powerful reminder that the mundane is Holy and reason to worship. I miss out on so much, Lord slow me down and open my eyes…Thank you Hilary

  2. I needed to read this this morning. Thank you so much for sharing!! I love that while we may grow tired of the monotonous, He never does. And creation points that out. Thank you!!

      1. Exactly!! I just realized my blog name is what came up as my name; I have it set up as private for now, not ready to show it to the world yet. But soon!! I have to say, I’ve been Following you and Preston (interesting, my brother’s name is Preston, too!!) for awhile now and I learn so much from your journeys with Jesus!! Hugs from another Follower of the Lord’s!!
        P.s. This lesson today will be with me for awhile now.

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