23 Sep 2011

Lesson from a little bird

A welcomed distraction interrupted my ignoble thoughts (the poor me types.). from the window, a clear tweeting sounded. A little brown bird was sitting near the highest tree branch, looking around and letting out her beautiful, soul-lifting intones.

Bird sounds have always lifted me. As I took in her music and sense of equananimity, i recalled how as a young girl i would have said that God sent the bird to cheer me up. Did i believe that now? I hesitated – and then I asked why.

I did not hesitate because i doubted God’s love for me. Indeed, over the years and through many vales, my view and experience of God has widened and deepened. He is greater today than He was when I was twelve. Yet at the same time, I would not describe God and everything as if it revolved around me. I am content for the bird to be where it was simply because it was. I do not feel the need to explain it and lead the conclusion to my paltry self.

God no doubt made the bird and gave it its song. I am grateful for what the bird – one of God’s creatures – did for me, another of God’s creature. But there was no need for me to hack a fine trail insisting God sent the bird or something. In a sense then, i have matured. Children are the ones who see everything from the standpoint of self. It all begins and ends with self. But maturity means we accept that other people, and other dynamics count in a real and amazing way. 

The bird, me, and whatever else is bound up in God’s love and it is far greater and more beautiful that I can perceive. For me to narrow it down to myself – no matter how sweet and faith-filled it sounds – is a lesser vision of biblical glory.

St Francis of Assissi, once a rich young man, disavowed all his earthly inheritance and took vows of poverty and traveled sharing God’s love is famous for his song that praises the created world. He found such a huge and wondrous gift in God’s creation that he called the sun and moon his brother and sister!

Our modern take on life is really to use and discard things. Often what is not useful to us doesn’t receive our attention (and that includes humans alas). We have the ‘delete’ or ‘trash’ icon on our computers and ipads to help reinforce that.

With this mindset, we insist that things are good or useful or God-sent because it served us in some way. We have lost the sense of wonder that comes when we remember we are created beings and that God is going to restore the world.

The birds are still singing out there as I write. If they are grateful and excited about the world, i think i should take a leaf from them and be content and expect good things this day from my Father.

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