Not long ago, I planted a shepherd’s crook outside my front window and hung a bird feeder. There’s a quiet joy watching these little creatures up close, flitting and swooping and eating. Every week I fill up the tube, and every day I see how much they’ve eaten.
Now my late husband was a real birder. Even after giving multiple bird books away, we still have enough to fill a library shelf along with several pairs of binoculars. He joined the Audubon Society and took regular bird walks. He practiced learning the calls and songs of the local birds. Sometimes he took our daughters with him on his birding trips, where they not only learned about various birds but also plants and flowers. One day he and I got a close-up look at an eagle flying over our heads.
Our youngest adult daughter recently moved to a city with multiple metro-parks known for the birds eating from out-stretched hands filled with seed. Recently, when we sat still and quiet on a bench along a hiking trail, we could see their flashes of color and hear their calls.
Birding was always Barry’s “thing,” so for me to venture into his territory made me feel a little intimidated. At the same time, perhaps in a very miniscule way, I felt I was carrying on his legacy. As the months have passed, enjoying the birds has become increasingly more than that for me. Watching the black-eyed chickadees, cardinals, and sparrows brings peace and reassurance to my heart. I gather courage from them when I feel afraid, when I face yet another decision, and when my faith falters. Each time I pause at the window, I remember the words of Jesus when He said,
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? . . . Therefore, do not be anxious . . .
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows (Matthew 6:26, 31; 10:29-31).
Jesus, the ultimate story teller, knew how to take the common everyday things of life and draw spiritual truth from them. These constant reminders have a wonderful way of giving us perspective and inviting us to trust Him.
So, whether you’re a real birder or just a novice like me, there’s hope to be found in nature’s object lessons all around us.
Just look at the birds!