Friday, May 4, 2012

Change, God and Mama Dove

As I walked out of the house this morning, coffee and laptop in hand, the warm humid air hit my face, revealing that another South Texas Summer is quickly setting in.  As I wiped the almost instantaneous sweat from my brow, I glanced up at the large palm tree to the left.  As has become the routine lately, I anticipated my eyes meeting those of my new friend; "Mama Dove", as we've affectionately called her.  About two feet above eye level, resting in the nook of a couple of dead branches, are usually the small dark black eyes that cautiously watch my movements as I pass by.  There was more nervousness in her glances when we first discovered her, but as the days passed by, she soon relaxed, realizing that neither me nor my family were much of a threat.  There seemed to be a silent trust that had developed.  She seemed to know that we all knew what she was up to and appeared to be comfortable in her new temporary home.  I began to enjoy greeting her as I came and went.  "Hey, Mama Dove!  How are those babies doing?  When's the big day?"  Over the last couple of days, by her relaxed glances, it was almost as if she was sharing her experience with me.  I enjoyed having her around. 

But this morning, instead of seeing her welcoming face or tale feathers, depending on her position of choice, I saw only an empty nest.  I would have assumed that she was simply making a food run, but apparently nesting doves have a very specific routine, and those don't take place until evening, as the sun begins to set.  After setting down my coffee and backpack, I walked outside and into the garage to get my ladder, still expecting her to swoop down any second and assume her maternal post.  But as I set the ladder near the tree and made my way up toward the nest, I quickly realized that it was empty and the realization of what was going on set in.  She was gone and the eggs had hatched.  Nature had upheld it's end of the bargain and the anticipation of life finally came to fruition.  The wheels on the bus go round and round.  

There are literally thousands of birds born each and every day.  There should be no reason that I lament the absence of Mama Dove and the two eggs that she patiently and dutifully watched over for so long.  But as I picked up one of the shells that I found on the ground cover below, I felt a little sadness at the change that just occurred.  Something that I had come to depend on, look forward to and even enjoy, was removed from my life and I felt the subtle sting of "change".  And change can suck sometimes.  None of us really like it, but it happens none the less.  And this little window into nature revealed that change occurs in all aspects of life; even those that seem to have nothing to do with us.

Mama Dove's big change had become a small change for me.  The system of God's creation transpired in this little birds life and by chance, and blessing, I was able to be a part of it.  Nature has no time tables.  Nature has no schedules.  Nature has no dependence on anything other than itself and it's self-reliance, and this got me thinking about a much bigger picture.  These small pictures of nature, God's sovereign creation, reveal to us just how little control we have to what happens to us.  Mama Dove's eggs would hatch, whether she wanted them to or not.  And as long as she did the job that God created her to do, everything would go as planned.  Why is that simple concept so difficult for human beings to grasp?

All of nature, besides man, seems to have a trusting grasp on the perfect flow of nature and the creation that surrounds them.  Just because we might have superior intellects, does that give us the privilege of worry and the authority of control?  Just because the mind delves into reason, does that allow us to usurp what God has already perfectly set in motion, without flaw or glitch?  Or could it be that we are the flaws and glitches to the process?

I wonder is God has been revealing Scripture to me, just outside my front door.  Has He been whispering to me through Mama Dove, " Jake, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; what you will write today or who you will minister to; or about your body, what you will wear; or about your hair and how it's falling out.  Is not life more than food, books, hair and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; look at Mama Dove; she doesn't sow or reap or store away in barns, in fact, she just sits there all day long, 24/7, and yet I feed her.  Are you not much more valuable than her?  Is not your family?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" - Matthew 6:25-27 (Paraphrase mine)                               

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