I Love Watching the Bats!

Many of you, especially those from Hanwell Methodist, will know that I enjoy a spot of gardening.  At times it can be hard work and to enjoy it you have to reap the benefits – usually in terms of watching seeds germinate, watching vegetables grow, watching flowers produce their colours and scents, or watching wildlife that visits.  But whatever the benefits are, gardeners have to step back, to leave the work and to sit back and enjoy the outcome.  To find a favourite place in the garden where you can sit, perhaps on a bench or in a deck chair to read a book, read a poem, or just listen to the garden, is to reap what it offers.

Often during the day as you work the soil, you hear the sound of nearby trains, aircraft overhead, neighbours’ voices over the fence, or builders’ tools.  But at other times, often early evenings, the sounds change, the song thrushes start to sing, the pigeons start to coo and at mating times animals are on the lookout for partners and start to display.  Later you will see them foraging for nesting materials as they build their homes and then for food to feed their offspring.

One of my best times to switch off is early evenings at dusk, when the light starts to fade and different activities begin.  The nocturnal animals start to appear.  In particular, just prior to the darkness I love sitting on my homemade garden bench looking up to the sky to see the flight and silhouette of moths, birds or bats that suddenly appear.  I love watching the bats.  They’re fast and don’t fly in straight lines.

I will often sit there until the light has gone.  It can be a quiet time to sit and ponder, and I often ponder about my Christian life and my thoughts on Jesus.  In our eagerness to follow Jesus, we can get totally involved in the work going on with people’s needs and the life of the Church.  Some of us will even consider more training and networking to help with our Christian work.  But if we are constantly busy, constantly running from one good thing to another, we can lose out.  Our own lives can then become hard and stressful and we lose the joy and peace that God intends us to have.

Sometimes we need to stop and look after ourselves.  We need regular periods of rest and relaxation.  A little time to spend with God, a time to pray, a time to listen, a time to unwind and a time to read our Bible.  And when we down our tools and just sit in the garden and reflect, smelling the perfume of the flowers, listening to the sounds around us and watching the wildlife passing by, then we will be calmer, more centred on God and happier with our lives.  As we sit on our bench, look up to the sky and say a prayer.  That time with God will help us to think of the people we are serving.  We will have more patience and will be filled with the goodness and wisdom of God.  You can’t help others if you don’t look after yourself.  For a short time put the fork and spade away, sit down, look at the freedom of the bats and reflect on all that God has given us.

I love watching the bats!

First published on: 20th February 2024
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