Lessons from a bird and a moth. ☆

It was a sunny Colorado day; just the pleasant sort of day for errands.  I was getting groceries out of my car when I heard a little commotion behind me.

There was a moth banging over and over into the garage window – and on the other side there was a bird simultaneously banging over and over into the glass.  Now, the moth’s intent was simple.  “I just want out of here!”  The bird’s intent was simple, too.  “I just want moth for lunch.”  I watched for a couple minutes and neither of them gave up until I scared the bird away by walking out of the garage.

So, as usual, I began to relate these two little critters to my single life.

Moth perspective

  • ** I’m in a place I don’t like and I want to get into a better place.
  • ** I’m feeling very hemmed in and want to be freeeeeeeeee!
  • ** What in the world is this wall I can see through which keeps me from being freeeeeeeeee?
  • ** I want the grass and sunshine I see and not this gloomy garage!

Bird perspective

  • ** I’m just flying along being birdy and realize it’s time for lunch.
  • ** Should I go to arches of gold or hut of pizza?
  • ** In the meantime, here’s a tasty looking moth.  Here I go!
  • ** Bammety bam bam!  What in the world. . . . .?  (Repeat 10 times.)

I’ve often acted just like those little creatures.  How many times have I complained to God that I’m tired of where I am and tired of being alone?  Too numerous to count, I’m afraid.  For instance:

  •  ** It just seems that if I were married, I’d have a built-in companion to do stuff with.  Crash!
  • ** We’re attracted to each other.  We can work on the spiritual stuff later.  Bang!
  • ** Surely God wouldn’t deny me the desire of my heart.  After all, He promised.  (Psalm 37:4)  Wham!

I’ve discovered that my perception is often flawed.  Sometimes something looks good on the surface, not so good under.  When I was about 5, my mother was making bread.  I saw the rising dough and decided to snitch a piece because surely it would taste as good as cookie dough.  So, I took a small blob and ran outside to enjoy.  As Charlie Brown of Peanuts fame might say:  Aaaarrrggghhh!  In other words:  raw bread dough does not taste good!  It isn’t in its finished state – baked.

It’s all in the timing!

OK.  You get the picture.  The one who penned Psalm 73 hit it right on the head for potential birds and moths like me.

  • ** I know God is good – – – – – but I’m stumbling around here by myself.
  • ** Everyone around me seems to have things so much better – like money and companionship.
  • ** They are healthy and happy and trouble-free.
  • ** Now, I do see that they act in ways I choose not to – even violently with evil intent.
  • ** Oh yes, they have potty mouths, too.
  • ** But, they still have friends and are having a good time.
  • ** I thought following God would be happier and more comfortable.
  • ** Instead, I’m lonely and tired and don’t feel good.
  • ** Is following God worth it?

I find some comfort in the fact I’m not alone in the hard places!  I’ve learned a lot of tough lessons in the process of going from young to seasoned singleness.  Following Jesus is full of challenges – but the commitment is worth it!  If I could go back to talk to my younger self, I would say, “God’s word provides the guidance I need even – or especially – when I don’t get it – or even want it.  Meanwhile, keep talking to God about what your heart is feeling!  He can take it.”

Fortunately, the Psalmist brings us to a glorious conclusion in verse 28:

“But I’m in the very presence of God – oh, how refreshing it is!  I’ve made Lord God my home.  God, I’m telling the world what you do!  (The Message)

What Shenanigan taught me about life. ☆

cocker spaniel puppyA number of years back, while wrestling with the tough stuff of life, I spent nine days totally alone at a cabin in the mountains.  The days were gorgeous; the nights cool; the smell of pine was refreshing; the sunsets were dazzling wonders of God’s imagination.  I’m sure the sunrises were equally as dazzling.  But, not being an “Oh boy, it’s morning.  Let’s get up at the crack of dawn” person, I didn’t see those. 🙂

One day as I was reading, I heard a soft whimper, and looked into the eyes of the most adorable tiny cocker spaniel puppy which had appeared seemingly out of nowhere.  Then, I could hear voices calling and calling for “Shenanigan.”  The cabin was in the midst of dense forest, and I knew this little fur ball had picked his way through a gigantic maze of trees and tall grass looking for adventure.  His adventure backfired, though, and now he was lost and afraid.  I tried to coax him back toward the voices calling his name.  But, he was having none of that.  I was having none of it either, since I didn’t want to get lost in a sea of trees after locating his owners.  So, we set off along the winding roads.  Poor Shenanigan was torn.  He knew he had come through the trees, and now this person was leading him away from where he had come.  After a few false starts, though, he decided to trust me and began to follow right at my heels.  It took about 20 minutes of walking to find his frantic owners, and with a little lick on my hand, he bounced back into his people’s arms.

Then, as God often does, He gently prodded me into realizing that I was much like Shenanigan.  I was wandering around in a dense emotional forest.

The job I loved as Instructor of Music at a state university had simply disappeared when spoken promise of tenure was rescinded on the last day of school with a very terse letter.  Suddenly my teaching and piano performance were not satisfactory after several years of praise.  Since their notice was so late, they gave me another year’s contract – teaching honors classes – which made no sense to me whatsoever.  No amount of questioning brought answers as to what had happened to change their minds.

A young man I dearly loved had simply walked away with a “Well, bye,” as he melted into a crowd of people, leaving me with a gaping wound in my heart.

A hurricane of broken dreams.

  • *  God, I’m totally alone.  What do I do now?  (Psalm 39:7)
  • *  God, where are You in all this?  (Psalm 63:1)
  • *  God, do You love me?  This doesn’t feel like love!  (Psalm 109:26-27)
  • *  God, both of those things were the deepest desires of my heart.  What happened?  (Psalm 37:4)

It was during this time that I discovered the relevance of the Psalms.  When I simply did not have words to pray anymore, I could pray those words aloud.  There were prayers of –

Sadness – and joy

Anger – and peace

Storm – and refuge

Confusion – and clarity

In the midst of these emotional words were constant reminders of God’s provision and care – especially when I didn’t feel it.  And, in the midst of these words were assurances that He does indeed hear the deepest heart cries.  His responses often come, though, following those times when there’s nothing around but tall trees and deep grass – or a dusty and hot, or snowy and cold wilderness.

Solomon wrote:  “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”  (Proverbs 13:12 NIV)  God and I began to have loooooooooooong conversations about the hope deferred part, begging for the longing fulfilled part.  Slowly, the truth of Paul’s New Testament words in Romans 5:1-5 began to sink into my soul.

(NASB) Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.  And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

And God’s hope does not disappoint!

During those days at the mountain cabin, I could not know there would be many fulfilling years as a professional accompanist, deep, lasting friendships, and joy in sinking deeper into God’s grace and mercy.

So, dear reader, my prayer for you is that you experience more and more of God’s hope fulfilling your deepest longings!

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *