Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Trying to listen

This morning I was getting ready to leave for work, and opened the door to the porch only to notice a bird flying frantically around. I quickly stepped back and shut the door, not wanting to let the bird come into the house! I went out the other door, and opened the door to the porch from the outside, hoping that it would notice and fly out the door. The bird noticed the change. But he didn't fly for the open door. No, this bird flew directly... into the window. This process repeated itself several times, as I heard three or four thumps, only to look each time and see the little bird perched safely on the windowsill.

I had to leave for work, which meant shutting the door, and leaving the little bird to fend for itself.

Ok... so... entertaining story. But, then this afternoon happened.

I walked into the church after work, and, noticing that a gentleman was praying near the tabernacle, went to a pew and began to pray. A few minutes later, the gentleman left the area, beginning his usual walk around the church to pray.

A few moments later, I noticed he was standing beside me. I glanced up. "Well?" He started, then paused, looking at me. "You can have Him."

I smiled, and a moment later, got up... because yes... I did want to spend some quiet time with Jesus. But this man's act... well... that struck me profoundly.

So I went over to pray, but I had a really hard time focusing, as this encounter kept popping into my mind. When's the last time that I "let someone have Jesus"? Or do I tend to treat this relationship as one that I don't want to let others into? That I don't want to share?

As much as I SAY that I want others to have that encounter with Him, do my actions really show it?

And then the morning came flooding back to me. At first, my thoughts were just on how a bird is a beautiful symbol for the Christian people. This is particularly evident in painting from the middle ages. The tie-in to the Eucharist... especially with pelicans. A parish near me, St Mary's in Oskaloosa actually has a pelican carved into the altar. The thought used to be that a pelican would, when it couldn't offer its babies the nourishment they needed, tear into its own flesh and feed them its blood to sustain them. What appears more helpless, and is thus a better image than the way we so desperately come to our Saviour than that image of a baby bird, mouth wide open so that He can feed us from His very self? (Pelicans have always been my favourite bird... learning this legend just made them more fascinating to me!)

Pelican feeding young window

But the image of the bird crashing into the window kept popping into my mind. So I reflected on that a bit more. And as the image grew clearer, so to did the message. This bird was desperately trying to get back outside. To get out of the trap. And he was trying oh so very hard to do so. But he was only willing to fly back and forth from window to window, and not to fly out the door wide open that he didn't know anything about.

But it's so shiny and pretty! Ouch! I just want to go outside!

Yep. That sounds familiar. And that thought shook me. Because in trying to find God on my own, and not looking at the door He has opened, well, I'm bound to keep crashing into the glass. Seeing the outside, but never able to get there.

So... that door is there. And unlike me to the bird this morning, God's not going to shut the door on me and leave me alone to find my own way through it. The door will be open... I just need to find a way to stop stubbornly aiming for the window.

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