Popular Posts

Friday, 13 March 2015

Stop and Stare

Gazing from the kitchen window at the colourful collection of birds pecking at the bread strewn on the ground, the peanuts and seeds and fat balls, is therapeutic I’m sure. As I stood this morning, watching a wee bird (blue tit?) checking out one of our bird houses for nesting possibilities, I was reminded of a poem our daughter printed out beautifully for us as a gift several years ago. It’s a famous one, about having the time to stop and stare.

I do take the time to stop and stare. When I’m praying. When I’m waiting for the bacon to cook or the eggs to fry for a B&B guest. When I’m trying to fashion the next sentence in my writing. 

But I suddenly realised that poor bird couldn’t afford such a luxury. He plunged his head into the hole of the nesting box, then pulled it out quickly. His head darted right, left, up, down, as he checked for predators and then he once more plunged it into the box. I’d have thought it safer to just jump right in, check it out, and then emerge without putting oneself at risk of surprise attack from behind or above. But then, I’m not a bird, and I don’t have their instincts.

It struck me that having the time to stop and stare is a privilege afforded those who dwell in relative safety. The stopping and staring of people under threat from invasion or attack is a desperate scanning of the horizon for any sign of the enemy. The stopping and staring of those hunkered down in refugee camps is an empty look which may not register anything – a look focused more on the empty canvas of despair. The stopping and staring of the elderly sitting side by side in old folks’ homes is the sad scanning of the landscape of memory, pulling up random moments of joy and sorrow, often in a muddle of recollection.

Jesus instructed his disciples not to be anxious about anything but instead to trust the heavenly Father, who tenderly loves the birds but even moreso, tenderly loves individuals. That is challenging enough when I’m standing secure in my warm kitchen gazing out at the birds in springtime; my prayers are with those whose challenges are vicious and brutal, whose losses are staggering, and whose memories are flickering like an old time 16MM movie. 

Good to know that Jesus’ prayers are with them, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment