1.30.2010

Lessons Learned from Bird Mess

I woke up this morning to some very unusual sounds. Raindrops? But I thought the rain was over. Splattering? But no one should be outside my bedroom window.

I couldn't figure out what was going on (and was too cold and lazy to crawl out from under the cozy covers), so when my husband got home from his early morning lecture, I asked him to take a look.

Something was falling from the sky all right, but it wasn't rain. It was BIRD POOP! Lots of it. Now, before you get all grossed out and stop reading, there's a reason I'm telling you this.

Often, when we see the unattractive, undesirable or unpleasant side of things, we're tempted to turn away and assume there's nothing good to be gained...or we fixate on the negative and end up with a grumbling, complaining spirit (I fall into this second camp far too often). When I saw my driveway (which had just been power-washed) and even my studio window splatter-painted with bird poop, I was ready to grumble. YUCK!

But when we fixate on the YUCK, we miss the beautiful...the GOOD that God wants us to see. I almost missed these hundreds of BIRDS...and the family moments their presence inspired!
These weren't your every day Houston birds. I'm no bird expert, but I could tell by their poop that they weren't from around here (I'll spare you the details). So why were all of these unusual birds surrounding our house and no one else's? And what kind of birds were they?

My husband was captivated at this point and noticed they were diving into the yard behind us, so he climbed into the tree fort to get a closer look:
It turns out they were sipping water from the puddles that always form in the unkept yard behind us (again, I tend to fixate on how gross this yard is and how it's a mosquito breeding ground, but today, God was using this yard for good...as a needed water spot for these migratory birds).

My husband came back in to report "a bright yellow stripe at the end of their tail feathers and a red dot at the tips of each wing." Just the clues we needed to get our girls involved in the back yard bird watching! Now it had become a family affair. My oldest daughter grabbed her new bird song book (great book, by the way) and the hunt began...taking notes, flipping pages, listening to bird calls...
Found it! A Cedar Waxwing! Migratory birds down South for the winter! Here's the close-up I would have captured had I not been freezing out there in my night gown (oh, and had it been springtime on a sunny day with a telephoto lens on hand!):
Have you ever seen these? I've certainly never noticed them before...and probably wouldn't have today had it not been for the mess they made of my driveway and house. I checked them out a little further on a back yard bird website...and guess what?!?! "Cedar Waxwings are the most specialized fruit-eating birds. Rather than regurgitating the fruit seeds, they eliminate them with their waste." They are specialized all right!

Lessons learned:
(1) Don't fixate on the mess, the unlovely or the undesirable. Look beyond the mess...
(2) There's often something beautiful, worthy, valuable or good to be gained from what seems yucky on the surface.
(3) God is up to good things; we just need to ask for His eyes to see them.
(4) Savor the moments when the unexpected happens. That's where memories are made.
How about you? Have you had any of those moments lately? The kind where something unexpected drew your family together...or where what looked like a mess on the surface revealed something greater and far more precious in the end?

4 comments:

  1. I enjoyed reading your inspiring moment with the birds. You are so good with words and so very wise. I am thankful for the opportunities to keep in touch with you.
    Leah

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  2. i love this! thanks for sharing. and, how cool to see the pictures, too! the tree fort is great, too.

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  3. I'm looking for the cedar waxwing right now, but they must have passed us by. The doves, however, are bathing in the fountain.

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  4. Great post. Last year, the doves took over. They were everywhere - nesting in the jasmine over the front door, in the driveway, all over the palm tree by the curb......now they are gone. I really miss them and wonder when they will return.

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"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one." ~ C.S. Lewis

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