The neighbors who live directly behind us are bird enthusaists. They have several bird feeders in their yard along with a large bird bath. I see many different types of birds–finches, robins, cardinals, woodpeckers, blue jays and others that come to eat and splash in their little oasis. The neighbors keep their feeders filled and the bird (and squirrel) populations well-fed. It’s nice for us because we get to see all the beautiful birds and hear their cheery songs without any effort on our part.
This spring, one of the birds that has taken up residence in our adjoining backyards is a robin Lucas calls “Bondo.” Bondo must have a few loose screws. For the past several weeks, that bird has been flying into our bedroom windows upstairs, trying to get into the house. He will perch on a nearby branch and then make 5-10 attempts to get in, banging and flapping against the window and making a mess of it. Then he’ll go back to his perch to rest and to sing his song before starting up again. We’ve tried a few different things to get him to stop but so far nothing has worked. Lucas has told me on multiple occasions that someone needs to help that bird. If only we knew how!
In my current situation, I feel just like Bondo. I’m looking ahead and I can see the place I want to be. For me it’s the place of normalcy–renewed health and strength, freedom from the bonds of constant illness, freedom from additional medications, and a return to my normal life and activities. I can see it and I move towards it…I’m almost there…boom! I slam into a wall. A virus. Then a secondary infection. Then another virus. More infection. A bout of pink eye, just for fun. Another virus. My asthma goes haywire. Spring allergies start up. Well at least cold and flu season is over, right? Wrong! The worst virus of them all strikes. These things are making a mess of me. I don’t enjoy smacking into these figurative walls any more than I imagine Bondo likes smacking into the literal one.
I keep coming back to the word steadfast that I chose as my focus word for the year. I wish I could say I haven’t been shaken by all this, but that wouldn’t be true. It’s been hard. Very hard. I am so weary of it all. The dictionary defintion of steadfastness is “resolutely firm and unwavering.” The word “resolutely” implies an action and a decision on my part. I can tell you that my heart isn’t steadfast by nature. I get frustrated with myself sometimes, feeling like after all these years it should be easier to react to my adversity with hope and trust, even joy and thankfulness. But it doesn’t feel any easier. It still takes a firm decision on my part to shift my gaze away from my circumstances and onto God, to push my fears aside, and to trust Him. To believe Him when He says He works all things together for my good, and that He loves me with an everlasting love. It takes resolve to be patient in suffering and persistant in prayer. And it’s not just a one-time resolution. Sometimes it’s a many-times-a-day resolution.
Loose screws or not, Bondo Bird has something to teach me. What keeps him coming back to that window? He must expect that one of these times he’s going to get in, and it will be worth all the effort. And even in the midst of his struggle, he keeps right on singing his sweet song. That’s just what I need to do–stay hopeful and patiently persevere through this hard time, expecting that I will break through. And in the midst of my struggle, I need to keep a song in my heart.
This morning just the song I need came to my mind, a hymn from childhood I haven’t thought of in ages. It goes like this:
Oh Love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee; I give Thee back the life I owe, that in Thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.
O Light that followest all my way, I yield my flickering torch to Thee; my heart restores its borrowed ray, that in Thy sunshine’s blaze its day may brighter, fairer be.
O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to Thee; I trace the rainbow through the rain, and feel the promise is not vain that morn shall tearless be.
O Cross that liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from Thee; I lay in dust, life’s glory dead, and from the ground there blossoms red, life that shall endless be.
~O Love That Will Not Let Me Go, George Matheson, 1882
I am held by God, and there is rest for my weary soul. There is light for my way, and joy in the midst of my struggles. There are rainbows to trace through the rain. There is joy and a promise of better days. I accept my struggles believing that through them flow blessings, and richness, and fullness of life. That’s my song.