Be a Bird
“He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”
Psalm 91:4 NIV
We often speak about our lives in terms of seasons, and much as the summer is shifting into fall, my life is in a “season” of change as well. When I was younger, I was not a fan of change. I didn’t like the idea of things being different from how they were, or of people leaving, or roles shifting. As I’ve grown, both as a person and in my faith, I’ve come to see change as an opportunity. An opportunity for growth, new experiences, an exciting adventure and challenge. Most days I feel that way. Most days.
There are days, however, where “exciting,” “adventure,” and “opportunity” would not be the adjectives I would choose to describe change. There are days where “overwhelming”, “intimidating”, and even “fearful” become the words I use to describe all of the change coming my way. Instead of a new town with new possibilities, it’s a place two hours from “home” without the people and places familiar to me. Rather than an opportunity to reach new kids and teach them, it’s my third new school in four years and the largest one I’ve ever taught at. I’ve come to realize that the days I choose those words and those perspectives are the days where I am relying on myself and my abilities and not my Heavenly Father who has led me to the change in the first place. This was illustrated to me the other day by, of all things, a bird.
My current season of change includes a 45-minute commute from Greenwood to Grenada where I teach high school English. I spend most mornings in my car listening to satellite radio, viewing the landscape as it rolls by, and gearing up for my day in the classroom. A few weeks ago, I noticed a pool of water off to my left beside the highway. I’ve seen the pool before but on this particular day a flash of white out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. I glanced to my left in time to see what looked to be over a hundred cranes flocked into the small pool. It was beautiful! The white wings and bodies packed into this tiny pool, flitting and dipping from side to side. It looked like those birds were having a grand time, splashing in the morning sun. The sight put a smile on my face as I thought about how beautiful God’s creations are!
As the smaller pool faded out of sight behind me I came to the larger pool connected to it, separated by just a small line of trees. And there I saw my lesson. Sitting in the middle of the larger pool was a solitary white crane. The fact that it was sitting in the pool by itself struck me and I thought it looked sad. “Why doesn’t he just join all of the birds in the next pool?” I wondered. And then another thought popped into my head. “I know just how he feels.” As the thought rolled through my brain, it registered with surprise. “What?!?! How do I feel like this sad bird?!?!” I stewed over that thought for several days, examining it from all angles. Was I not happy? I don’t feel alone, do I? Is something wrong? Well, after much mulling and stewing and examination, I came to a few realizations. We all go through times where we feel unsettled, when it can feel like things are just “too much”. And it is perfectly ok to take a step back and sit in “the pool” by ourselves. Especially if that time alone is spent in prayer, studying the Bible, and seeking the Lord’s guidance to lead our steps. But we also need to remember that God has put pools beside us full of “birds” to help and support us. I thought of all of the “pools of birds” God has placed in my life right now, specifically for this season of change. When I married Watson, I not only got a wonderful husband to be my partner and helper but I gained a supportive extended family who have gone out of their way to make sure I felt welcomed and loved. The Westminster family has also greeted me with open arms and made me feel at home in a new church and a new town. The teachers who have invited me to lunch and helped me navigate a new school have also been put there for a purpose. So I close with this challenge to each of us. If you are feeling like the solitary bird in the pond, don’t forget to look for the birds God has placed in your life. Seek them out. And if you are one of the birds in the smaller pool, look around to see the single bird you can invite into your pool. Be a “bird” for someone else that God has placed in your path.