One of the things that I miss from my old house is my backyard birds. I had a feeding station set up just off my porch. Watching the birds was one of my joys. I guess you could say I’m a birder, but not one of those go-out-in-the-great-beyond birders who knows where and when different species migrate to add them to my life list. I wait for them to come to me. They are my perfect little pets. (They never mess up my house.)
As the crow flies, I don’t live far from my old home. It was suggested to me that I leave a trail of breadcrumbs so my feathered friends could find me. If that would have worked, I probably would have done it; but I figured it was time for me to make some new feathered friends and let the new owners of my old house enjoy the regular visitors there. I guess you could say I’m branching out to a new birding environment.
So we set up the feeding station in our new backyard and waited. I could hear the birds in the trees which surround my yard – hear them but not see them. Days passed and I wondered what was preventing them. I know there are hawks around. Perhaps these birds weren’t willing to risk going out in the open. At long last, the blue jays came. I appreciated their loud cackle alerting me to their visit. Eventually a titmouse popped in and soon returned with his whole family.
I was a happy girl…for a while. Here’s an analogy that might help you understand my temporary happiness. It is the reason why I shouldn’t open a large bag of M&Ms. I can start out with a few and be content, but soon I want more. I don’t have to see them. I can hear them calling me from the pantry – just like the birds in the trees.
The sound of cardinals in the trees really bothered me. What was it going to take to lure them in? Sometimes I would see one on my fence, but he never stopped at the feeder. I also heard a sweet little bird called a Phoebe, whose call sounds like his name. I would hear him every day but never lay eyes on him. Until today. Phoebe stopped by. He doesn’t spend much time at the feeder but he loves to perch on top of it and fly from perch to perch around the yard. While I was looking at him, the cardinals stopped in. (They usually travel in pairs.) I caught a glimpse of the female leaving as the brilliant male made a pit stop. This is happiness for me. Watching the birds relaxes me and is one of the things God uses to still my anxious heart.
He uses my friends that way, too. Today I had lunch with two such friends. I’ll call them Phoebe and Cardinal. I often hear how they’re doing on Facebook or receive a phone call or text, but I really need to see them. Visit a feeder with them. Spend time with them. One of the things that I’m adjusting to is my access to my friends. They are not as readily available, but I’m only 15 minutes away from that old neighborhood. That is practically nothing.
Patience was what it took to see birds at my feeder. Intentionality is what it takes to keep friendships near and dear. Even if those friends are only fifteen minutes away.