Soar into New Life
Resurrection stories come in many forms. Many years ago, my family had its own resurrection story, courtesy of a flight of barn swallows. Every spring, we hosted a nest of these little creatures in our garage, and while we know that not everyone relishes the idea, we actually looked forward to it. It was exciting for us as we discovered where the swallows would build their nest each year. We were entertained on a daily basis as we watched the nest being built, Mama Bird sitting on her eggs, the chicks hatching, and the endless flights of both parents heroically feeding their nestlings.
The year 2011 was no exception. That year’s nest was in the best spot ever for easy viewing – it was within reach and practically eye-level for our young daughter. She eagerly peeked inside the nest each day. Most days she reported that Mama Bird was sitting on the eggs. Sometimes our peering into the nest caused Mama to fly away. That was when our daughter would get a flashlight and peer inside to count the eggs. Each time, she was pleased to report that there were still five of them.
In just a short time, the eggs hatched and out came the hatchlings! Whenever we went to our car, we could hear the delightful chirping of the babies calling out to be fed. We would “ooh and ahh” over the tiny creatures with their big, open mouths. We could hardly wait to see if we would be there when they learned how to fly. We’d never seen this momentous event, but each year we hoped that we would.
We had celebrated Easter only the week before when it began to dawn on me that we hadn’t seen Mama Bird for a few days. I also realized that the temperature had dipped into the 50’s at night. I was very worried that the baby birds had not survived.
We checked them on Thursday and Friday, and found that they were quite still and didn’t respond to our chirping as they had in the past. I sadly concluded that they had been abandoned and had died during the cold nights. At bedtime on Friday, I tried to gently break this news to our daughter, explaining what I thought had happened. I even told her we could dig a hole in the backyard and bury all the babies together in their nest. At first, she insisted they were just asleep, but finally agreed that we could bury them, if, she said, they were really dead.
On Saturday, my husband and I were in the garage working on a project and making a lot of noise. Our daughter was peering into the nest again, when she suddenly announced, “One of the babies is opening its mouth.” I couldn’t believe it! Realizing that we had a chance to save them, I ran into the house to call St. Francis Wildlife Sanctuary. Our daughter, meanwhile, stood there loudly proclaiming, “I told you they were just sleeping!”
We carefully packed the nest in a box filled with towels, and set out for the remote Wildlife Sanctuary. We were so relieved to turn these little creatures over to the experts, who not only knew how but had the resources to care for them.
On the drive back home, I marveled that our daughter hadn’t given up. Because of her youth and inexperience, she refused to believe the birds had died. She kept looking for signs of life. I, with my wisdom and life experience, had too quickly accepted the sad fact that the chicks had died. This made me wonder what had I accepted as fact that may not be so? I wondered, too, what dreams, long dormant, may yet come to life if I but breathed life into them?
- S. Lewis once wrote: “It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And we cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”
Those little hatchlings of long ago couldn’t just stay being tiny chicks. Their nature was to grow or die with their potential left within them. The same is true for us – no matter how old we are. We have to grow spiritually or die unfulfilled. To fulfill our Divine Nature, we have to see life with the eyes and inexperience of a child, believing that anything is possible. We also have to have the courage to venture beyond our comfort zones, to challenge ourselves to do the hard work necessary to see how we have settled for the life we know instead of the Life More Abundant.
This Easter, I pray that each of us chooses to break out of the shell in which we’ve been living this last year and embrace life in a new and different way, so that we, too, may experience a resurrection of the Spirit that leads us to SOAR into New Life!