Monday, April 7, 2014

what we beat against

the animal lovers in our home have been a wee bit on edge this weekend. you see, since yesterday afternoon, there's been this beautiful red-breasted robin attacking the picture window out front. she sits on a birch tree nearby and continuously flies full force at the large glass of our living room.

she is relentless.

she is resilient.

she is determined.

she is ... er, um ... perhaps a little dumb?

i mean why is she flying at the window over and over and over again? she's most likely on her 200th attempt. surely she realized after five or after fifty times that she wasn't going to get in.

so, what is it that she wants?
what does she see?

a mirror?

a reflection?

a ribbon?

a tangle of dog hair desired for her nest?

come on mrs. robin, what gives? what passion burns in that red-breast of yours?

seriously, folks, this mama bird is literally banging her head on a wall of glass.  repeatedly. i have to wonder why she persists so. why she's this willing to persevere. i can't see anything inside the room which might attract her attention. there's a couple of cute pictures of our kids resting on the piano -- and, of course, there's the piano --but birds aren't searching for memories or music.

my tenderhearted sarah has attempted to discourage her. she's removed the mirror and even googled the problem. today, after school, she's planning on decorating the picture window with stickers or saran wrap in order to "prove to the bird" there's simply no way in. {personally, i am voting for saran wrap, seems an easier thing to remove after convincing the bird}.

and i sit here at my computer this afternoon, answering a few emails to the continuous clunk-flutter-tap-tap of this fine feathered fiend.

our big, beastly dog, minne, watches her from the driveway below. big brown dog with big brown head resting on big brown paws. only her gold-flecked eyes track the bird from tree to window and back again. if dogs could talk i know she'd be shaking her big brown everything saying, "give it up silly bird. there's no way through that window. take your bird-brained bludgeoning elsewhere already."

but still she comes.


and i type and i hear and i think: oh she is me. i am her.

i am the bird-woman often clunking against something hard. a thing impenetrable. the one who bangs her head on the wall, determined to find a way in our through or over. determined to get what i want.

no doubt, tenacity can be a good thing in most matters. a person (or bird) who perseveres is to be praised. but, if we're being honest, it is also the mark of the bull-headed {or bird-headed, if you will}. a trait admirable or aggravating.

for there does come a point, perhaps on the 200th attempt, when the window's been closed and the door's been barred. there does come a time when we should realize it wasn't the route intended. it wasn't the right entrance. it wasn't the path pre-determined. it was never a part of the plan.

but, headache or not, i have a hard time admitting that. i am wired to want my way.

i want what i want.

i am like that in my nature.

and so i clunk and tap thinking if i just try again or try harder or try longer it will happen -- the break through moment might occur. i'll clunk or claw or peck or push my way into what i think is meant for me, only to find out God had another purpose all along.

God may have created us for courage and perseverance, but He didn't design us to beat our heads belligerently against walls --- glass or otherwise. He designed us, like my relentless friend, ms. robin, for soaring high and singing in spring and tending to the treasures at hand.

He didn't design us for dead-ends, but for life.

sometimes we are called to an unswerving passion, but sometimes, simply to surrender.

anyone else out there ever feel this way?

is there something you've been fighting for or flinging yourself at full force which is clearly not God's plan for you? something elusive and enticing which keeps your wings fruitlessly flapping and your eyes distracted from God's better gifts?

it's hard to look away.

i know.

but there's a difference between quitting and surrendering. often we bird-headed types fear we'll look like losers if we walk away. we're sure it will seem like we've given up or thrown in the towel or turned our back on an opportunity. i'm not talking about that though. i'm talking about when God clearly steers us away from something and yet we pretend not to notice. when we pretend we don't understand His direction.

when we don't want to see where He's leading us, but instead keep up our try-hard rhythm of clunk-flutter-tap-tap.

let's face it, there's a fine line between persevering through a challenge He's presented and pecking away at a problem He never intended for us to take on.

we can be thick-headed and blurry-eyed people, sometimes struggling to know the difference.

instead of beating my beak or banging my head, however, this is where i have to ask God to show me. it is in these moments when i need to stand back from the situation and ask Him to either clearly close the door or open wide the window. it is at this crossroad when i need to ask Him for eyes to see clearly the difference.

what is it, Lord, you want me to persist in and what is it you want to prune from my life?

what is keeping me from soaring in the sunshine or giving thanks for your good gifts?
what wall am i beating myself against which you want to remove.

remove it, Lord.

or,  remove me from it.

sticker it or saran wrap it. tumble it or take it down. but, Lord, be the Remover of anything standing in the way which distracts me from you.

funny. since i started pounding out this little piece, the robin has finally flown off. she's gone. i haven't heard her for over a 1/2 hour now.

maybe the lesson wasn't for the robin pecking outside the glass, but for her friend pounding away inside.

"all that my eyes desired i did not refuse them. i did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. thus i considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which i had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun."  ~ ecclesiastes 2:10-11