Family walks are a way of life in our house. A few times a week–when our boys aren’t at Jui Jitsu–we walk a couple of miles around our neighborhood.
Since our boys were in diapers, they’ve dealt with walks (not always pleasantly). First they rode in strollers, then they toddled beside us, eventually graduating to walking all on their own.
I grew up taking walks on the steep Connecticut hills, and it was both exercise and family time during my childhood. My parents held hands as we traversed Bradley Lane and called out ‘hellos’ to neighbors through the trees and rocks.
During one of our recent evening walks we noticed a small form in the road, and the traffic was light enough for us to investigate.
“Is that a bird?” One of us asked.
I surely wasn’t leaving a helpless animal in the middle of the road, so I dashed over, my imagination already running through wildlife scenarios. My boys followed, and my husband trailed behind (probably worried the animal would end up returning home with us). 🙂
A young mockingbird trembled in the center of the street, its feathers half adult, half baby fluff. Its large eyes appeared unfocused, the tiny bird dazed in the deepening twilight.
“What do we do?”
A discussion ensued, with the main question looming: Leave the bird or pick up the bird? It wasn’t a baby, but we weren’t sure if it could fly yet. None of the nearby oak trees arched over the street, and it wasn’t a windy night, so it seemed unlikely the bird had fallen from a nest high in the branches.
We decided to scoop it up and place it near a tree in a neighbor’s yard. My older son volunteered his large, steady hands.
Cole dropped beside the bird. Still dazed, the tiny creature blinked when Cole gently set his palms beneath it like a human scoop. He held the mockingbird for mere moments before it suddenly shot off toward a bougainvillea bush surrounding a tall oak.
In an instant, the fledgling was gone.
Lifted up just enough to revive and fly to safety. We strained to see where he’d gone, and I heaved out relief that he was okay. Safe.
This fleeting family moment stayed with me, much longer than the bird stayed in Cole’s hands, and God’s word came to mind.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.”
(Hebrews 10:23 & 24)
One of the ways I see God’s grace in my life is when He stretches me to think of others. I don’t naturally want to do that–me first, me first is too often the mantra in my head.
But I’m realizing that good things happening to me feels hollow. Good things happening to a dear friend I’ve been praying for? Someone I’ve cupped my hands under and lifted in prayer or with Holy Spirit-inspired encouragement?
Then I stop thinking of myself, and the joy sinks deep.
If you’re struggling with the Me Firsts (which plagues me often), lift someone else up. It’ll refocus your gaze and provide joy you didn’t expect.
“Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.” (2 Thess. 3:5)