Monday, 17 August 2015

The bird watching sanctuary

It was 5 p.m.

I had settled into what had become my newest pastime- bird watching.

There was that one bird, who everyday at around 5, sat on a branch across the way, as I sat in my own comfort zone having dinner. I just by chance glanced up one day, and there it was, oblivious to how thin the branch was that it so comfortably sat.

It came everyday.

It had become a quiet respite from never ending days of the mundane of life. The drop offs, the picks ups, making breakfast, making dinner, parting fights, combing hair- you know- those things you do when you sign up for motherhood.

For at least 10 minutes, I could drown out all the sounds of kids chatter, and I could make the time at 5, for me. Just me. Just me and the bird that perched on a branch in a tree. It sat on the very top, branches bare, and I could allow myself to think my own thoughts.

Wasn't the bird afraid the branch would break? Why does it come there everyday? Is it resting? Is it waiting? Is it just collecting twigs to build a nest?

After weeks, I didn't really care, it had become my 5 p.m. drink of nature, it had become my bird, my sanctuary. it's funny how you share things with others that give you joy, for I shared it with my family, and they started looking for my bird too; but I do suppose it might have meant something entirely different for them.

'His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.'(Mathew 6:25-26) I let that sit with me for a while. I marinated in it. I rejoiced in this news that the bird that sat in the tree on a branch brought me.

Then the bird that sat, came, no more.

It was 5 p.m.

My bird was late.

Then late turned into absent. Then one day turned into a week. I looked from my favourite place to sit for my favourite respite that came from the sky, and it didn't come.

'Watch your actions, 
They become habits'

I missed my bird that sat. It had become my respite. My little habit. My reminder that God watches over me. But it had left me. 

I looked up everyday, still. Just for the bird. Then I noticed something. The branches that were bare, were no longer so. There were leaves on those branches now, the bird had moved on, the tree had grown new leaves, but...I was still stuck- looking up. 

I accepted that my bird was gone, I sank back into the mundane. I ate. I told children to clear the table. I told children to wash the dishes. I sat- in my comfort zone of a chair. 

That moment when everything around you seems to move on, seasons change, birds like people fly away, and you still don't recognize that it's an indication, no... permission for you to move on also.

For everything, there is a season,(Ecclesiastes 3) you can so easily get stuck in a bird's yesterday.

The bird, never formed a relationship with me, it was doing only what it knew how to do everyday. I made it 'my bird', 'my respite'. I sat while it sat, and I took from it what it was never meant to give- me. 

I sat, and it flew away, it took from me what it was never meant to take but I gave it over, willingly. 

'...And I spent my days
Poured my life without measure
Into a little treasure box
I'd thought I'd found

Until the day when Jesus came to me
And healed my soul...'
Alabaster box
CeCe Winans

 We, like sheep, have gone astray, pouring our life without measure, into little treasures that we have found, giving ourselves over to many devices. We empty ourselves into men. Women. Our homes. Our children. Our jobs.  We get lost in dreams, drugs, food, shopping, birds, all to escape the mundane of life. We often times give ourselves away to people that don't even want us, people that mistreat us and abuse us but life is seasonal. 

I hear my friends on social media complain bitterly about their winter wonderlands, but through shivers, winter coats, boats and frozen nose hairs, it's difficult to remember that Spring is coming. That a new season is merely months away.

About that comfort zone chair- In Jamaica we have a saying ' batty never say get up'. The Jamaican word for 'bottom' is 'batty', this saying means, if you are seated comfortably, you most likely won't want to get up. Birds fly- that's what they do- most of them anyway. Trees lose their leaves in the winter, then by spring, they are in full bloom- this is what trees do. Humans on the other hand, well, they can get stuck. Stuck in places that provide respite,and miss their season. Miss their time to move. You have to know when your season has changed.

Respite in a world of chaos is music to the soul, man knows this, that's why he created massage chairs and spas, but that is temporal. Your Heavenly Father knows this too- that's why He sent Jesus, who says in Mathew 11: 28- 30...

" Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek, and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

It's possible to find rest in 'good things', - nature, birds, saving the planet, exercise and the like. It's  even more possible to find rest in godly things - like church work, evangelism and ministry. It is also entirely possible to get lost in them, to give them more power than they deserve and miss the fact that it is in Him- Jesus- that you should find rest, it is in Him that you should lay your burdens down, it is in Him that you escape from life's mundane tasks.

If you are giving the good and godly things 10 minutes of everyday,I am by no means suggesting that you stop, just don't forget to give him more, don't forget that the Creator is greater than the created- Always.

I look up occasionally on the tree, I see its leaves, I see no bird. Then I gaze at the bluest sky, decorated by the whitest cotton candy clouds, and I smile and whisper - lesson learned.

Words to Alabaster box by CeCe Winans taken from


  1. Lovely, Tanya! I have a hummingbird that has been coming to the same branch for years. Watching him is a part of my life, he no longer migrates, so he's my responsibility. One day he was gone, so I know the feeling. (He came back, only chased away for a week by a juvenile.) I love the lesson learned. Nice post!

    1. Imagine the simple things that speak to us! Our response to the prompts have to be in sync with what God wants to do in us. The hummingbird is our National bird here in Jamaica, and they are indeed a joy to watch, with their wings ever flapping