The big wooden posts in my back yard were perfect for hanging bird feeders and windchimes. They faced each other like goalposts and even had several rusted hooks in place, at one time meant for clothesline. I’m not sure what drew me to bird-watching last summer, but soon I had three types of feeders going, and a lot of entertainment. Okay, I realize this sounds pretty nerdy, and having checked with some of my other empty-nester friends I find I am not alone. I guess it’s a pleasure we can afford now, to slow down a bit while we recover from getting our teenagers out into the world, and notice things like the sky, trees, birds.
My husband, forever the science geek, quickly joined me, binoculars and all, and we enthusiastically purchased a few books on Amazon. Many summer nights we ate outside, chairs turned to the feeders and watched cardinals, doves, finches, blue jays party down at the feeders. Woodpeckers were drawn to the suet, and the feeder across the lawn, on the opposite post had special “songbird” feed. I was hoping for a mockingbird or two. Instead, we got sparrows, hundreds of them.
It made me ponder, with new perspective, the many references to these birds in the Bible, along with one of my favorite hymns, “His Eye is On the Sparrow”. One thing I never noticed before is these birds, as far as bird-beauty goes, are really boring. They’re just brown, indistinguishable from each other, about the same color as the wooden posts. And they just hop, chirp and sit. No beautiful song or unusual flight like the swoop of the mourning dove, or slash of color like the red winged blackbird. Hop, sit, chirp. Sit, hop, chirp. Oh, and they eat. They love the special song-bird food but it’s not helping. Chirp, chirp, hop.
The Bible says God notices when just one of these birds falls to the ground. I’m not sure where they fall, but I bet I wouldn’t notice, ‘cause they look like dirt. I guess the thing I never realized before is God counts them, boring, drab silly sparrows, and He counts their lives as meaningful because He knows when they die. It’s easy to feel like a sparrow sometimes. I remember when I was 13 or so and I’d look in the mirror and cry. I wanted straight blond hair and blue eyes. I wanted some curves and to know when to laugh and say clever things. I stunk at arts and crafts. I had a sparrow-complex.
Then Jesus says this, “Don’t be afraid! You are more valuable to God then a whole flock of sparrows!” Wow. This is the part that amazes me; that as I look out of my window right now and count perhaps a dozen little drab sparrows sitting on my fence, that He knows them. He probably has names for them, like Marvin or Millie. Cheap little two for a penny sparrows, common as potatoes.
“His eye is on the sparrow, so I know He watches me,” the lovely hymn goes. Don’t be afraid, Jesus says. Afraid of being unnoticed in a big world. Afraid of having no song, no flash. He sees you, He is Jehovah Shammah, The Lord who is there. Even in the midst of this big flock of humanity, He watches you alone. God formed you, the Bible says, and knit us together in our mothers womb. We are tagged as His, made in heaven, originals lovingly created for the Master’s use. He even made a road straight to His heart and to His home; through the cross of Calvary. What crazy love is this?
“I sing because I’m happy
I sing because I’m free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me.” -Charles H. Gabriel
It’s real love and like no other on earth. So I pour out the special Songbird birdfeed for my many little friends. It’s OK that they really can’t sing or do much that’s special. God watches them. And so will I.