In the old hymn we sing:
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own.
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
The place where we “tarry” in the hymn is “the garden”—a metaphor for prayer, and a good one. The writer suggests that we walk with Jesus in a place lush with beauty, reminded of God’s care in the roses and the melody of birdsong.
But consider where the hymn was written. It came from the pen of C. Austin Miles, a pharmacist and editor, whose great-granddaughter asserts that he wrote it “in a cold, dreary and leaky basement in Pitman, New Jersey that didn’t even have a window in it let alone a view of a garden.”
Work is like that. We want to hold the world of beauty in our hearts, but we find ourselves in a leaky basement, a sterile elevator, a windowless office. Even if we enjoy working in a setting of natural beauty, work itself imposes more scurrying than tarrying, more urgent productivity than quiet contemplation.