A Bird's Song
I grew up a military brat. While I now realize I was afforded the opportunity to travel and experience different cultures, as I child I didn’t like it. I didn’t like moving every three years. I didn’t like leaving friends behind. I didn’t like living with the instilled fear of losing my horrible orange ID card. I didn’t like the awkwardness of making new friends. I didn’t like change.
One of the only constants in my transient world was my grandparents' house. No matter how much time had elapsed between visits, their home was an unchanging environment. Each visit, I would peek in the bedroom closet; I found great pleasure that everything was still in its proper place. At day’s end, I enjoyed taking a rosewater-scented bubble bath in the old claw-footed tub. Freshly scrubbed, I would climb into bed where the sheets were soft and worn. I would nestle deep under the old bed quilt feeling embraced in love, safe and secure. On most mornings, I was awakened by sunbeams dancing on the wall, accompanied by a concert of singing birds. I found delight in one particular bird’s song. I couldn’t tell you what kind of bird it was, or really even describe what its song sounded like. But I knew it when I heard it.
Decades later, I traveled to Washington, DC, on a business trip. It wasn’t my first business trip, but it was the first time I had traveled solo. I was all alone. I commuted alone. I ate alone. I stayed at the hotel alone. And I worked alone in an overheated, stuffy office. One morning, seeking relief from the stale air, I opened the window a few inches to allow the brisk February morning air to enter. For a few moments, I gazed at the scenic view of sunlight glistening on snow-covered trees; then I turned my back and sat down at the computer. I was mindlessly pounding the keys when I heard it. My hands froze in place; I stopped to listen. Surely I was imagining it; after all, any sensible fowl had flown south for the winter. I heard it again and hurried to the window. In the near distance a solitary bird, perched on a snow-covered limb, was singing loudly. My favorite songbird from childhood had appeared and was singing my favorite bird song! Unexpected tears gathered in my eyes as memories transported me back in time to the sunlit bedroom at my grandparents' house. Immediately, I felt as if I was wrapped in an old heavy quilt, blanketed in familiar warmth. I no longer felt alone and isolated, but embraced by a steadfast sense of God’s love. I listened to the bird, longing for it to come closer so I could get a better look and finally identify it. But it flew away.
I got in the habit of pausing to listen whenever I hear a bird sing, hoping to hear a familiar song. Occasionally I do and I am delighted. One morning, when I stopped to listen, God whispered that I needed to listen for His voice like I do for the bird’s song. That morning, I changed my routine. Now I make time to be still and quiet. I listen intentionally.
I long to hear from my Lord; and often I do. Sometimes His voice is clear and direct, other times it is a soft whisper. I can’t really describe what His voice sounds like, but I know it when I hear it!
Then He said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.’ And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. ~ 1 Kings 19:11-12 (NKJV)