This morning I’m sitting in my happy place – a swinging chair, in a sparsely adorned room. The decor is intentional and minimal. It’s a clutter-free room, with two large windows and a door to close off the rest of the world. One of the windows is open and there is a soft breeze through the sound of a light and steady rain. I’m listening to the birds sing and I can only hope they are celebrating the two full feeders of seed that I prepped for them yesterday.
Sounds pleasant, doesn’t it? I need to find the pleasantries among the chaos that surrounds me, and you, and all of us in this time. I’ve been reflecting on the verse from the book of Matthew, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
Let’s not take it out of context and say we shouldn’t plan for lifes’ uncertainties. We should. Perhaps we don’t need to hoard the toilet paper, but we do need to take care of our families and our neighbors. Preparedness is different from worry. Worry rots our souls. It consumes us and changes who we are. Worry is our attempt to control the future and when we can’t, it tells us that we should still try anyway. I believe that God is in the details but sometimes it’s not until we can see the big picture that we understand where he was in the details.
When my son was seven, I thought it would be fun to give him a summer job. I decided that I would teach him how to make bluebird houses. As long as he made one a week then he could sell them and make a little money. He made eight birdhouses over that summer. We paid for the supplies and he got all of the profit. Not exactly a proper business model, but he learned how to schedule his time, use common tools, and designed a logo and small instruction pamphlet.
I kept the first one and we hung it up in our back yard on a play area that my husband and I built for the kids. Between family and friends, we sold the remaining houses – one was to my neighbor that lived two doors down. Every year after, we had a pair of bluebirds that were hot and heavy in the house from spring to fall. We would get 3-4 clutches a season. We enjoyed peaking in on the babies from time to time, videoing them and then cleaning the house when they were gone. Our neighbor’s back yard was very similar to ours but they never got bluebirds in their house. There was almost no difference between our yards except we had a fence and a dog. You’d think the birds would prefer the yard without the dog. Plus, my neighbor used to volunteer at a bird rehabilitation center, so her yard was clearly more qualified. This went on for three years.
Last August we moved and the only thing I really wanted from the back yard was a comfy single-person porch swing that was gifted from my same, sweet neighbor, and my son’s birdhouse. We took the swing but the day before we moved, I went to take the birdhouse and there were three little blue eggs inside. I couldn’t bring myself destroy them. I never cry, but I cried.
Now remember I’m the declutter mama. I could count all of my sentimental objects on one hand. When there is something I consider special, it is very near and dear to my heart. I really wanted that birdhouse.
We sold our house to a rental company. When they came in to “fix it up” they tore down the play area that we had built. Fortunately, my next door neighbor asked the man for my birdhouse. (We had some great neighbors, for sure.) So my son’s birdhouse is here at the new house waiting patiently for it’s new residents. But the story doesn’t end there.
Fast forward seven months to last week and we’re in the first week of the Covid-19 quarantine bombshell that has left us all feeling confused and anxious. A week later and it’s worse and a week from now we feel like it will be even worse. It’s hard to see God in the details, but a simple text reminded me that maybe the circumstances which surround me are not always to be understood in the moment. There is so much more happening that is bigger than me.
That’s a text from my neighbor and it was such a beautiful reminder of the big picture. Over the years we laughed about the details. We had both taken the same steps and ended up with opposite results. It didn’t make sense in the midst of the moment. The confusion was a by-product of what we thought should happen. In hind-sight I see God taking care of those randy little back yard birds. He prepared a place for them before we even knew we would sell our house. He took care of them when they were lost. He opened a door for them when their normal had been snatched away and he’ll do the same for us.
We are in a unprecedented time of panic right now. Worry will have it’s way with us if we let it. Worry is our attempt to control the future and when we can’t, it tells us that we should still try anyway. These time are showing us that there is so much that we can’t control. Don’t get lost in the illusion that we can. It’s easier for me to release control to the omniscient Father than it is to figure all of this out on my own. I want his peace more than I want to understand this pandemic.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” – John 14:27
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