When you have seen one ant, one bird, one tree, you have not seen them all. (E. O. Wilson)
“Silly bird! Why are you pecking on the window?”
“She’s defending her territory,” my husband Dan surmised.
We watched in amazement as the female cardinal, fooled by her own image, continued to swoop down—over and over again—attacking her reflection in the window.
Dan snickered. “I know you’ll find a story here.” Then, he closed his eyes and dozed off in front of the TV.
I turned my attention back to my laptop and whined, “I’ve got to get this blog post written.”
Dan mumbled from his recliner, “Why don’t you give yourself a break?”
I agreed under my breath. “I AM taking a break! I’m sitting here with you, watching a movie.”
I needed rest. But I stared at my never-ending “to do” list. I felt the pressure of some impending writing deadlines and speaking commitments, along with our holiday plans. The weight of my schedule and expectations pushed me beyond my comfort zone.
Dan interrupted my thoughts. “I’m just saying, you’ve had a lot on your plate lately.”
“Thanks for the reminder,” I grumbled. I took a deep breath, trying to focus on my project and forget about my failures and limitations.
My head ached. My heart fluttered. I felt short of breath. Oh, no—not another panic attack! Red flag!
I closed my eyes. Focus on breathing. Inhale. Exhale. REST. Remember, “ … The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything …” (Phil. 4:5-6 NIV).
How do I NOT be anxious? “ … in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (6-7).
Like the songbird, I continued to attack my own image, focusing on my worries instead of the truth revealed in the mirror of God’s Word.
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like (Jms 1:23 NIV).
I took another deep breath and exhaled. “That’s enough!”
“What … what did I do?” Dan muttered in his sleep.
Realizing that Dan thought I was fussing at him, I sighed. “I’m just talking to that crazy bird.”
I turned again to face the songbird, still flapping and responding to her reflection. “Silly bird!”
What experiences have you had in beating yourself up lately?
5 Replies to “Reflections from a Songbird”
Thanks for the post, Karen. I love how you found meaning in the cardinal story. Profound meaning. So glad you shared. I love that verse. “…The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything …” (Phil. 4:5-6 NIV).
Thanks, Cheryl! I love when God speaks through His creation to us, don’t you?
Oh, Karen, I needed this. Anxiety is such a common cross for women, and even though I have come a long way in learning to manage it better, I was just feeling overwhelmed by what’s ahead on my to-do list for this year before I read this post. Thanks for reminding me I don’t walk alone with it, and that when I am anxious, that’s a cue for prayer. I, too, am a silly bird!
I just hate it when we beat ourselves us trying to do God-sized tasks! It seems like I’m always hitting that wall (or my reflection, like the bird). I agree, anxiety is a cue for prayer! Now, to stop beating ourselves up, right? Ugh! Thanks for your encouraging comment, Jan.
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