This past week as has been one of deep sadness, turmoil and grief over lost and broken relationships, people hurting as a result of sin, and the effects of just being worn to the bone, both physically and emotionally. Early morning has been my refuge. Sitting in the quiet kitchen with my prayer shawl (a sweet hand-made gift from my sister, Megan) and cup of coffee, waiting for the sun to come up and the birds to awaken… all the while praying relentlessly. My heart has been heavy for my own hurts and losses, as well as for the needs of others in my life and community. I guess that is what happens when I ask God to ‘break my heart for the things that break Yours’ and He answers…
As the days would begin to awaken, so would the birds on our patio. We recently became the proud grandparents of some grandbirds. It’s been fascinating to watch the life of these little creatures begin. Watching the birds has caused me to think about people and how we deal with our ‘baby birds.’
When birds are born, they are very needy. The parents take turns flying to and from the nest with food. Each time they are near, you can hear the babies begin wildly chirping. At times you can see the little orange beaks peeking out of the whole in the birdhouse. Momma or Papa leaves and they calm down. This goes on for several weeks.
As the birds get older, the parents stay away more and mom seems to go in the nest less. That was my cue that they might just be ready to leave the nest and fly. Thursday morning, I was able to witness one of the babies come out of the nest and then eventually fly away. It was really fascinating to watch.
This circle of life made me begin to think about the human race and how we are raising our children. I can see from watching the birds that they are raising their ‘kids’ to get out of the nest and fly. Everything they do is preparing them for independence. Are we raising our kids to be independent and ready? Or are we protecting them too much… doing too much for them?
I watched the first bird come out of the nest and sit on the string of bistro lights hanging near the birdhouse. He/she sat there for some time. When I tried to sneak out onto the patio to take a picture, they flew up into the nearby patio cover. There they sat, not quite ready to fly. By the time I came out ready to leave for work, they were gone and the momma was trying to get the second baby out of the nest.
As an educator, I see hundreds of ‘baby birds’ each day. Some seem independent and on their way to future of self-sufficiency and success. Others make my heart hurt. They don’t have the parents caring for them in a way that will produce happy, healthy adults. They live in nests with great turmoil and strife. Inconsistent parenting or no parenting at all cause these kids to lack what it takes to feel confident and secure about their future. When it is time for them to leave the nest and fly, they won’t be equipped and ready. Storms come and they aren’t able to handle them in a strong, productive way. While they want to be independent and strong, the lack of care and feeding in their lives cause them to act out. What they really want is schedules, rules and boundaries… even though they act as if they don’t.
It’s what we all want to some degree. Knowing that mom or day will fly to that nest with food and care at just the right moment. Knowing that when it’s time to leave the nest, they will have support and encouragement… and be ready.
We can learn a lot about parenting from the birds. God was so detailed and articulate when he created the earth and all of its’ inhabitants. While we are the dominant beings on this earth, we sure can learn a lot from all creatures great and small.
This morning, momma and papa are preparing the nest for the next babies. Papa has been relentlessly pursuing momma this week in between getting the kids ready to fly! I anticipate a new batch of grandbirds anytime soon! Thank you, Lord, that something so simple as the birds on my patio can bring me such peace and comfort… and help me to put life into perspective… at just the right time.