About a week ago, we began to hear the call of a strange and unfamiliar bird around our house. Or, I should say, it was the CALL that was strange and unfamiliar. I have yet to see the bird. It’s a single, loud, rather random shriek and I love the sound of it. Each time I’d hear it, I would chuckle and say something like, “What does that bird look like? I’m so curious! I want to see it!”.
As I lay in bed this morning, savoring a few moments of peace before the onslaught of dogs and cat that inevitably greet me as soon as I open the door to the house, I pondered My 30-day Challenge and what today’s particular endeavor might be. And there it was: the silly bird shriek. I reminded myself that I really DID want to see what that bird looks like and then returned to making my plans for the day. But the feathered creature would have nothing of it – he just kept interrupting my thoughts with his cries.
I had an odd thought. Could it be that spotting the bird was my challenge for the day? I kind of liked the idea and it seemed like fair game (Oops, sorry. Punning again!). But what if I failed? What if I never managed to catch a glimpse of him (or her, for that matter)?
Still not completely convinced, I set about feeding our animals and making my morning coffee. And there it was again: Aaaaaaahhhhh! (Seriously, what kind of bird makes this noise?!). I ran to our upstairs balcony and scanned the horizon, searching east, south and west but there was no trace of him (though the weather had notably improved – hooray!).
I decided that, should I accept this undertaking, I’d need to find our son Isaac’s binoculars because this dude was probably not going to land in my courtyard and call out my name. (Though it would be pretty amazing if he did!). After a reasonable amount of searching – and prior to drinking my coffee, mind you – I found the binoculars. Now I was ready.
I brought my coffee and breakfast up to one of the upstairs guest rooms, left the balcony door open and the binoculars nearby, and sat on the bed. Señor Shriek called yet again and I grabbed the binoculars and ran outside. Nothing. No movement anywhere. Not even another sound to give me a clue as to his location. I returned inside to my breakfast, even more determined.
This scenario repeated itself at least six times over, with me jumping and running, searching, watching, waiting and then returning inside. I began to feel a bit foolish and realized that clearly I would need to relocate to the balcony. I found a padded stool, grabbed my Bible (and the binoculars, of course!) and parked myself outside. I tried imitating the bird’s call (I had actually been quite successful at this with some mountain goats just last week and we’d had a lovely chat), but I was no match for him and my ridiculous cackles fell on deaf ears… or… whatever birds hear with.
Eva, our herding pup and my tireless protector (see Where the Sheep Wander), was clearly confused by my odd behavior. I wasn’t sure what to make of it either, to be honest.
I started reading my Bible in the book of Proverbs, as I had also decided that during these 30 days, I would read one chapter of this book per day. I read verse after verse about wisdom and understanding, all the while feeling rather impatient (and not particularly wise). As I stopped to listen once more, what I heard was not the bird but rather God speaking to me. Wait. Hmmm, OK. Yeah, I’ll wait.
Sitting and waiting, I reflected on the fact that this is not something I’m very good at. Although, as I shared in yesterday’s post, Southern Europe has a much more laid back culture and we actually do quite a bit of waiting, I normally occupy those in-between times with other activities. You see, I like to get things done. I love to GO AFTER the goal. So even when I’m physically inactive, I’m very often “running after” something in my mind. I recalled that line that had struck me from Alice in Wonderland when I watched it last week: “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” That would be me. (Much to Denny’s chagrin, as he is decidedly not a morning person).
I asked God to help me learn to wait. But I reminded him that I did want to see this bird because I also needed to get my daily blog post done.
And that’s when it hit me. Today’s challenge really wasn’t about the bird at all. I was being challenged not only to learn to wait, but to live in the moment, to enjoy the journey, to embrace the lessons that God was wanting to teach me each day through this challenge. I, of all people – a champion for truly learning rather than merely completing tasks – had so quickly fallen into the trap of focusing on “getting the job done” rather than allowing myself to be taught along the way.
I remembered that just yesterday, when I had gone to pray in front of Faro’s City Hall, I had been struck by the name of a road in the historic city center: Rest Street. And I had taken a picture of its sign. (I’m kind of enjoying these little clues each day, that give me a hint of what tomorrow’s challenge will be).
So one day at a time I am learning… to see things through even when the circumstances aren’t the best, to be a warrior, to learn to wait and to rest. See you tomorrow, my friends.
Rest in the LORD
and wait patiently for Him.
PS – If you read yesterday’s post, I just have to tell you: I had no sooner published my post than the phone rang and I was told that one of the four people who must sign the authorization to allow the concert in Faro had signed it! We are praying the rest will sign by Friday, so it will be a GO! Thank you, my fellow warriors, for praying along with me!