Dear Hope-full Friends,
It was a tense afternoon at our house. For some time, we’ve watched a pair of cardinals coming and going from the Korean Lilac that is situated about 10 feet straight out from our front door. We’ve wondered, do they just like being inside this dense little shrub/tree? Is it the security it provides? Do they find yummy bugs hanging around inside? Do they enjoy the company of the other birds that also congregate there? Or, is there a nest?
That’s what seemed to be the most reasonable explanation. But we couldn’t see any nest, and there was no evidence of young ones – until that afternoon.
Otis was out on the line that’s staked in the ground beneath the lilac. He likes to lie in the sun out there and he has a variety of traffic to watch. He’s generally content and quiet out there for up to an hour. But this time, I heard the near-frantic chirping of the cardinal adults, apparently warning Otis or warning of Otis’ presence or both. A traffic jam!
I went out and Otis was at the front door, apparently troubled by the noise just overhead. He wanted to come back inside. Birds! What’s with the birds?! How can a dog nap with all this commotion? I let Otis in and went to investigate. Looking into the shrub for clues, I suddenly found myself face-to-face with a baby cardinal perched on a branch in the lilac. I took a quick (and poor) picture with my phone, and then joined Otis to watch from inside where I wouldn’t disturb the cardinal family any further.
For over an hour I watched mom and dad cardinal flying from the lilac to a small maple, to a locust tree, and back to the lilac, as if to tell their child, “See? This is how it’s done, and yes, those attached things that you keep flapping, they are there to help you do just as we are doing. So, come on! Let’s go!”
I don’t know if that’s what they were saying. That’s what I was saying! Come on, kid! Fly! I have other things I need to be doing, but I need to see you off, up, away, before I can focus on those other things! So let’s get with it! I do not have the patience for this.
S/he did not listen to me at all. My schedule was not his/hers. How about that? So, I waited, with cardinal daddy and mommy. Otis curled up on the couch. He was unconcerned. He had no agenda, at least at that moment.
The clock moved on past 4:00 on Wednesday afternoon. The uncooperative young cardinal stayed put. S/he has no idea how large and free his/her life is yet to be. I hoped s/he would find the courage and confidence necessary to begin the discovery soon.
I hope the same for us. That we will find what we need to be freed of this world-shrinking-stopping-sapping virus. But, sitting still, waiting seems to be the wiser and necessary action for now. We too are cautiously perched, not yet daring to venture forth as we’re really meant to. How long will we remain so situated? Maybe, we’ll find that our post-Covid life is larger and freer than our previous life? It will most certainly be different than it was. And we will be different too, won’t we?
So how should life be? How should we be? What should we leave and let go when we finally fly, besides this present perch? And towards what should we migrate? What calls to us? The potential for truly new life resides within us as we listen for what beckons.
We sing it sometimes, “You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord, who abide in God’s shadow for life; say to the Lord, ‘My refuge, My rock, in whom I trust.’ And God will raise you up on eagle’s wings…”
You take it from there. See where it takes you.