It was flying straight towards me. I ducked . . . a male cardinal hit the clear glass pane with a bang. Windows without screens invite winged creatures to fly straight through them.
The bright red bird was stunned . . . for ten minutes, he sat perfectly still, listening to me as I opened the door, speaking softly to him. He didn’t move an eyelid; he didn’t cock his head. It was uncanny–this stillness, this waiting. It was as if he knew any movement would hinder his hope of recovery When all sense and presence of mind returned, off he flew.
It happened again yesterday; only this time it was a small goldfinch. The bright yellow male sat right where he landed, not moving, for almost an hour. I thought he had surely broken something, but then he darted to the tree above.
(photo by Lyndi Harris)
Why can’t I sit still . . . not flailing in despair . . . waiting . . . gaining strength . . . changing perspective if necessary? Waiting. . . quietly . . . Am I committed to staying calm as I recoup my balance when a devastating circumstance would detour me. Where did birds learn to take such blows in stride, to quietly compose themselves before running into another situation? Neither one of these colorful beauties called a friend to support him in his pain; they did not Google for a quick remedy. “I pour out my complaint before You, O Lord. before You, I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is You who know my way.” Psalm 142: 2-3a
While birds are often stunned when crashing into a glass barrier as these two were, over one hundred million birds die every year when they attempt cruising through a window. It’s virtual suicide. They do not recognize the clear pane as a barrier. Bird lovers are encouraged to cut branches, move feeders, add decals, close curtains,–multiple solutions are given to prevent more deaths. Perhaps I need to make sure my windows are dirty:-)
Are there solutions when you and I slam into a barrier? When circumstances steal the very air we breathe. Stunned fowls need peace and quiet to reboot. I, too, must adhere to that advice. I am reminded of David in Psalm 131 when he acknowledges . . . “I have stilled and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” He is totally contented, at peace, waiting.
An interesting story in 2 Samuel 10 gives insight into waiting for healing. David’s gesture to show kindness to an Ammonite king was interpreted as a spy motive. David’s delegation of men was siezed; their beards were shaved half off, and their clothes were cut down the middle. Imagine returning to Jerusalem with buttocks showing! There was no debate; they could not return home.
This was humiliation at its worst. To have one’s beard removed was a major taboo in the Israelite culture; it was an insult. Exposure of one’s private areas was a shameful practice afflicted to prisoners of war. King David heard of his men’s pain and instructed them to stay in Jericho until their beards grew back.
Why Jericho? Jericho was the first city the men would have come to after crossing the Jordan from Ammon. No doubt it was an unfruitful area with few inhabitants as it had not been rebuilt since the walls had fallen and the city burned during the conquest years before. (Joshua 6) The shamed men could be obscure while regaining their sense of worth and strength to continue their journey.
But it is a sweet spot–this Jericho to which David sends them. Jericho literally means a place of fragrance. Imagine that these devastated men needed to seek calmness, peace, and quietness in order for their emotionally damaged hurts to be soothed. Trees of balsam, pine, and the spring blooms of the myrobalan or cherry plum perfumed the ruins.
Perhaps we need to hurry to our place of fragrance, a sweet place. . . and stay there until our beards grow back. A place where we can be soothed , to again know peace . . . His peace.”Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you . . . John 14:27
. . . my beard is growing . . .