In praise of whistling.
‘You can’t think bad thoughts while you whistle,’ said the Gippsland dairy farmer and his daughter, recalling this later, added, ‘Dad always went around the farm whistling.’ We had been talking about prayer at the time and she realised that in a real way, whistling was her father’s way of praying through his day. He chose to do something that made him happy, whatever the challenges that his work day would bring.
I recalled this the other listening to a boy whistling as he cycled past. It was so cheerful. I also remembered it last Sunday when I lay soaking up the winter sun, reading and relaxing. We can choose to do things that make us happy. Often, they are such small things, like whistling or enjoying the sun, that we can fail to appreciate what a big difference they can make. They make us happy within ourselves, they make us feel better towards other people (and stop the flow of bad thoughts) and they make us more open to God.
When we are in trouble, we turn to God out of our pain and need. In a real sense then, we come as beggars before him. But when we ‘pray’ in those happy moments, (and the prayer can be little more than the quickest ‘thank you’ while we enjoy our happiness) we are being friends with God. We are taking pleasure a loving gift from a friend…and that is what God, our truest friend enjoys in us.
Loving God, let me recognise the little things in life that give me joy and happiness. Let me make time for them in my day, and as I do, may I give thanks to you. I ask this in Jesus’ name, confident that you will hear me.
Sr Kym Harris osb