There is a family of Mockingbirds (https://www.google.com/search?q=mockingbird&oq=mockin&aqs=chrome.0.69i59j69i57j0l4.2524j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8) in one of the large trees covering our driveway. The parents are extremely protective of their little ones.
Late this afternoon, after spending most of the day working on a project, I set fire to a pile of debris that contained several downed limbs from the past month’s storms. I plopped down in a lawn chair watched the fire and then something interesting caught my eye. One of the Mockingbird parents was chasing a Turkey Vulture (https://www.google.com/search?q=mockingbird&oq=mockin&aqs=chrome.0.69i59j69i57j0l4.2524j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#q=turkey+vulture) who had come to close to its nest. It was dive bombing the much larger bird chasing it, harassing it, letting it know that it was a mistake to be in this area. There was something important and it was to be protected at all costs.
As I watched the Mockingbird triumphantly run the unwanted fiend off I thought about our lives. There are many things we claim as important, would declare meant a lot to us, but what would we risk our lives for? Die for? Fight against greater odds to protect and preserve?
The answer to this question reveals a good deal about us. Knowing what we’re willing to never give up defending gives us insight into who we are and what means most to us.
What’s Important –
This morning Beth and I went to a small Lutheran church and celebrated Easter with the faith community. The service was meaningful. The songs were on point, the message concise and full of the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection. The only challenge to overcome was the family in the pew behind and their little ones who were banging toys, dropping toys, whispering loudly and moving a lot! Basically, they were being kids. It wasn’t a distraction too often and the focus on the empty tomb was far greater than what was happening around us.
I talked with some friends this weekend who are facing a lot of challenges. As we spoke it was easy to hear in their voices that the things that never mattered had been revealed for what they are; illusions which take our attention off of what really matters and places them on the banal.
It is unfortunate that oftentimes it takes what seems to be insurmountable odds and obstacles to shift our focus back to what truly matters. Only when we understand we have no control over the curveballs life throws our way do we, in humility, search for the truth.
In Sight of What’s Important –
Last night, my wife, the dog and I sat in the most interior room of our house waiting for the all clear sign to be given. About thirty minutes prior every phone we have buzzed and beeped a cacophonic chorus. We looked at them and they all read; “Tornado Warning! Find Cover Immediately!” When we had received the message we did what all logical beings would do…went outside to see what the sky looked like. It was gray and growing darker. We went inside when lightning began striking and watched until the winds blew the rain sideways and we couldn’t see anymore. We determined it was time to get into the safest room and wait until the storm passed by. I sat holding the laptop and hitting the refresh button, Beth sat petting the dog while hail, rain, and wind pounded the house. After about an hour it was over. No damage was done save a few huge mud puddles littering the front yard.
The darkness and blinding of the wind and rain made it feel more unsafe than anything else. When you can’t see it scares you. You can’t see exits, shelters, ways to protection and safety. Whether storms of the Earth, of the mind or the spirit, sight is valued above all things. Last night I was thankful for shelter, family, and light inside. It was great reminder of what’s important and what’s not.
This morning I was in a hurry! I don’t like being late. I’d rather be one hour early than one minute late to an appointment. I grabbed my keys, wallet, pen, wedding ring and phone as I rushed out the door. Shoving varying items in available pockets I opened the door to the truck and tossed my wallet onto the passenger seat with the intention of placing it in my back pocket when I arrived at my destination. However, when I pulled into a parking space my mind was elsewhere and I left my wallet in a prominent, highly visible spot on the front seat. I never even thought about it until I finished my meeting, came back out to the truck, opened the door and spied it lying there waiting to be seen by anyone and possibly stolen. “Whew!”
In life we often leave what’s important behind as we rush to and fro. There are schedules to keep, people to meet, places to go and it seems our life is lived in fast forward. It takes discipline and awareness to make sure what’s important doesn’t get left behind but is remembered and treasured.
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” -the Master