Naming your Hallelujahs
I grew up on Upper River Road here in Americus. To go to town or to school I would ride past the home of Margot and Bill Hudson. Every year about this time, I would press my nose to the car window in anticipation of the drive by. Their yard couldn’t get to me soon enough. There is magic there. There is a lot to see on my trip towards the city limits. There is a precious country church with beautiful stained glass and majestic spires. No little country church would have such but in an imagination unlimited in its ability to live fully. Right down from there is a pond which has its own little waterfall spilling over its boundary. Sumter County farmland, always rich in its offerings indulged me most of the trip. I was even privileged with a hog farm complete with pools of mud. All of this was fascinating, but right before we turned to start my day at Southland, there was the most glorious of sights.
This time of year, Bill and Margot’s home is over-indulgent (as if there is such a thing) in what I have always referred to as “little yellow flowers.” They are, of course, daffodils and in my young mind there were millions of them. Their yard was an ocean of yellow beauty which called for me to dive into and take a leisurely linger soaking up the awesome, soaking up the smell, soaking up the idea of how many people I could make happy by picking and giving away those little yellow flowers. It is overwhelming in the most sacred of ways. Even today there is no putting words to the Hudson’s yard. It is still magical. Mama, in knowing how this yard cast a spell over me, texted to say I needed to make a journey to see it. I, of course, already had. Multiple times. In letting Mama know this fact, she responded, “I call it their Garden of Hallelujahs.”
And there it was. I’ve been walking around for nearly 50 years trying to find words to tell of this experience and finally, Mama had put words to it. A Garden of Hallelujahs. Who would not want to swim in such a thing? To lay right down in the middle of it and have their fragrance seep into your soul? To soak in hallelujahs through every sense you have. Me please! Sign me up! I want to soak in the middle of a thousand hallelujahs. On my best days, I could give each of those flowers a name. Some would be named: Paul V., Jeanie, Seth, Amy, Fred, Fat Frank the Cat, 601 South Lee Street, Barbara, a good trip to Wal-Mart, boss, talents, law enforcement, Mike, first cup of morning coffee, a good strand of pearls, an invitation to stay, a promise to never leave and on and on for thousands of flowers. On my best days I could give them all a name and still have names left over. A Garden of Hallelujahs. I love it. Oh, my word, how I love it! Yes, let’s linger and soak here a minute.
Because it is little yellow flower season, I had reason to point out the ones growing at our library. I asked my friend, “have you noticed them, they are beautiful!” My friend had not taken Lamar lately, so he had not seen them. But then he admitted something I found very strange. For all his many talents, he doesn’t have the one to see the beauty in things such as little yellow flowers. At first, I thought we all don’t get the same talents, and perhaps having an eye for little yellow flowers is a talent only some of us enjoy. Then he went on to say he really doesn’t put much value into soaking up things like flowers. Sometimes I will give testimony to what I find precious, but in this case, compared to the song little yellow flowers sing, my words were futile and fruitless. I know what battles I need to partake in, and this battle did not ask me to join in. I simply let the conversation move to its next point, but I was saddened for something lost.
In considering how different we are, I remembered a promise. We have been promised if we didn’t name our Hallelujahs, stones themselves would name them for us. There will be Hallelujahs, it is just a matter if you’re one of the lucky ones who gets to name them. Maybe this is what my grief was about, there is something grave in not being able to name your Hallelujahs. What an awesome, awesome gift for those of us who can name them. Being able to name a Hallelujah is in fact a Hallelujah. Gratitude. Praise. It all begins with recognition. Put aside what you think you know. Open your mind. Look forward to a new experience. To recognize something to be grateful for, to offer a praise, to increase what you see value in—it makes life richer. Look for the little yellow flower, as simple as it is, in your life and offer a hallelujah for it. Watch how–just like literal little yellow flowers—your hallelujahs will grow and spread. Never underestimate the power of naming your Hallelujahs, it is as if you are soaking in all the goodness of a million little yellow flowers. Relish your linger. Revel in your soak.