If you enjoy discovery. If you like excitement. If you enjoy a rush of adrenaline, you will love bird watching. The word "watching" may describe the traditional and passive understanding of what has become "birding".
"Yeah," we say.
"I'll throw up a bird feeder, toss out some seed, and see what happens."
Then, it does happen. You are surprised by the beauty of a bird you have never seen. Cardinals show up in droves. You see a Blue Jay feed its mate. The wow factor sets in, and the rush is on. Questions flood your mind.
"What kind of bird is that?
Where did that bird come from?
I've never seen one of those.
Wonder if I'll see a Bluebird?"
Eastern Bluebird (Male)
I know they are beautiful . But, I've only caught a glimpse. You notice an article about Bluebirds telling you they will nest in anything, even an old boot. "Well, I've got an old boot!", you think to yourself.
The quest has begun. The passive act of absent-mindedly glancing at sparrows out the kitchen window is on it's way to becoming a full-blown hunt.
You start reading the labels on the back of bird seed packages. They report bird names, and possible sittings of birds you never knew existed.......the American Goldfinch, House Finch, or Nuthatch.
American Goldfinches on the thistle sock
The picture of the Pileated Woodpecker or a Red-Bellied Woodpecker does you in. "I want a picture of that bird." You leave the store with two bags of seed, three feeders, two books about North American birds, and you reach for your camera.
In the blink of an eye, birds and your imagination have come together in as sure a relationship as coffee and cream.
Chipping Sparrows enjoying white millet
Possibility has met satisfaction.
Curiosity and wonder have met the practical, and near at hand.
Your wife tells you, "Today is National Bird Day!"....... and you are glad."
Copyright 2013, Curtis Beaird. All rights reserved.
The first thing I heard this morning was Blue Jays announcing their arrival at the feeder. They are big birds. They are loud birds. They are birds that love peanuts. As soon as we feed them, they fall silent.
I guess it is difficult to screech, screech, screech, with a beak full of your favorite food. Those big blues never fail to bring a smile.
Manna from heaven is fresh every morning.
Now, it is assault time. Turn on the TV. The manna offered by the antics of the Jays is replaced by another loud pair. This time, a couple of talking heads doing voiceovers while outdated file footage documents what went wrong while I slept. If something didn’t slip, break or get blown up in the world, someone somewhere did something wrong. That too is eagerly reported.
There is nothing quite like the quick trip from heavenly manna to an emotional mauling served up by news outlets specializing in commercialized chaos. If sex sells, these folks have discovered that human tragedy is equally as lucrative. What would the evening news be without at least one tight shot of yellow crime tape? Cashing sorrow has become a business strategy.
Other than flipping the off button and risking the guilt of not caring, what can we do to manage the constant barrage of “it went wrong,” “it’s going wrong”, or “they did it wrong”? This message keeps us off balance and weighed down with a low-grade fatigue and a not-so-low-grade anger.
You are right; I would not have raised the question if I didn’t have a proposed answer ready. Well actually, I don’t, but the Apostle Paul does. In the face of the wrangling chaos at Ephesus, Paul allows Timothy in on the secret of how to handle it with what I call the Big Six.
I Timothy 6:11
“…follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”
Whew. O.K. Let’s go ahead and say it. Of those Big Six that Paul listed, to think of godliness as a goal, much less a strategy for living, seems borderline impossible, if not absurd. My guess, when we hear the word godliness, we imagine a life pure as the driven snow, one zipped up so tight that we can’t breath…....or both. We give up even before we start. While that conclusion is natural, it will leave us vulnerable to the insanity that surrounds us. So, stay with me through a few more words.
For Paul, godliness is a way to a productive future. It is a conscious choice we can make to avoid the downward pull we feel each time that we are assaulted by a media bent on exhausting us with perpetual and contrived tension. Yelling the news at me is counterproductive. I refuse to listen.
I’ve figured it out. They have no interest in me being informed; they want me angry. They will gladly fake their anger in order to give me an excuse to express and experience mine. Angry people are easier to manipulate.Godliness offers the way to see beyond and seek the better way. Stewing in our own aggravation is a waste of the spiritual energy that God gives to us.
Godliness invigorates, energizes and generates possibilities. Godliness puts us in touch with a power that speaks worlds into existence. "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."
Let there be Blue Jays?
Let there be bird houses we build. Let there be children we love. Let there be vision and dreams of tomorrow when tomorrow means next Thursday. Think about it, Paul did tell Timothy to “lay hold on eternal life….”
I believe that taking hold begins in the here and now with the choices we make today. I believe that taking hold begins with imagining something other than the destruction of my presumed enemies. I believe that taking hold means there is more in this moment than the pathetic view that the narrow minded media offers me.
Godliness, which is the pulling of eternal life toward us, has other benefits. It recreates our fear as healthy caution and converts anger into creative energy. Godliness means we are not alone with the mess.
Maybe the best news about godliness is that it enables us to think. If we suspend our minds and use only the emotions of fear and anger to feel our way along, problems are neither defined nor solved; they are only complained about and railed against. With our head and hearts engaged, we are free to invest ourselves in the purpose of our lives.
The first thing I heard this morning was Blue Jays announcing their arrival at the feeder. The second thing I heard was the Apostle Paul giving me a choice between the lead subject of the Big Six or the channel changer.