Finally. It was The Day I promised myself time to laze in the pool and sit in the gazebo with a totally engaging no-think book and icy drink. I had been so energized to clean our house and yard after our daughter, son-in-law, and dogs moved into their own home (they were with us five months) that instead of waiting for my husband to come home, I hauled things way too heavy for me—like pressure washers and a 50-pound, round glass tabletop that I could barely get my arms around enough to lift back on the base. My determined stubbornness had gotten the job done inside and out, including painting three decks, but now my body, splattered with black and blue marks was in need of a serious recharge.
I set my book and drink on the stand, puffed up the lounge chair cushions, and reached up to turn the fan on. Suddenly there was a flapping and thrashing in the peak of the gazebo. A bird was batting against the sides of the rafters. Thinking the draft from the fan was too much for it, I turned the fan off. The stunned bird settled on a side rafter. I settled in my chair. Although it was fairly big, I realized the bird was a young robin. Its red belly feathers were just coming in, much like a teenage boy’s chin fuzz.
I waited, hoping it would leave because I really wanted to turn the fan on, but it just stood there, mouth open, bleating a tiny little chirp. I picked up my book and tried to carry on with my pleasantries but was distracted by the faint “chirp, chirp.”
I got up and waved at it, but the youngling didn’t flinch. Then I heard her. The mother was frantically hopping on branches outside the gazebo. She had a mouth full of worms and kept calling Junior to come, but Junior stayed put, beak wide open, mama, come stick those down my throat, I don’t dare move. Mama became more insistent, chirped loudly (even with the worms) but still didn’t enter the gazebo. Junior was just as adamant about not budging. He continued his pathetic little noise and now I, distracted, put my no-longer-so-totally engaging book aside and entered into this rescue-the-robin drama.
After several attempts with the pool net, I pushed Junior off the eaves where he landed in the crepe myrtle. Eventually he heeded his mama and fluttered away.
The whole affair lasted about forty minutes. By then, a storm had rolled in. Frustrated to have used up so much time, I began thinking things like, What a stupid bird. (Can there actually be stupid birds?) The gazebo was wide open and it wasn’t even stuck. Its mother was two feet away on the other side, with a beak full of worms, and all it could do was sit and cry a pathetic little ‘eh.’
But before I got too far down the path of berating a bird, the lesson learner in me kicked in. I thought about a notation in my journal that I had been reflecting on. It had to do with how Daniel had enough confidence in God and the gift God had given him (interpreting dreams and visions) to act before he had the actual answer. (First he requested the king give him time to interpret the dream, then he went to his friends for prayer support, then God revealed the mystery-Dan.2: 14-19).
Daniel didn’t wait for God to come and stick the answer in his mouth before he dared make a move.
I began to suspect I had more in common with the stupid bird than I liked: How many times do I want assurance of a good outcome before I dare do something? How many times do I let insecurity sabotage my writing or my relationships? How many times do I beg God for the answer before I trust that he has given me gifts and wisdom to act?
So, maybe I was a bit harsh on Junior’s plight. I’ll have to remember him the next time I’m in a situation calling for a faith move and consider which will it be—that of Daniel or the stupid bird?
(Okay, okay, so my meditations are on the level of “beach-reads” these days. It takes a while to get going after a long diversion, but thanks for stopping by.)
Blessings abundant these very hot days of July,