Late last year I chose three words to guide me through 2020.
I then selected one of my husband’s photos to represent each word. This lone sandpiper wading on a Pacific Ocean seashore spoke to me of simplicity.
Most days, it feels like the world in which we live is pretty complex, and complexity doesn’t seem to cohabitate well with simplicity.
I have no profound insight to offer on the matter of simplicity, but the past few days, a little wounded chickadee in our backyard is teaching me a thing or two.
Meet Abby. (This is what our granddaughter named the bird, although ‘she’ may be a ‘he’ more aptly named Abe!)
Over the years, I’ve grown fond of chickadees, loving the sweet tune they whistle. They are skittish little birds, flitting from tree to tree, never landing for long. Even though my husband takes plenty of bird pictures, he rarely captures a chickadee.
When Ron first told me about Abby, I said, “God cares about that little bird.” This thought was based on words spoken by Jesus:
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God….Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
(Luke 12:6 & 7 NIV)
For over a week now, we’ve been watching Abby hop around. Ron scattered seeds on the ground since she’s unable to cling to the birdfeeder. We’ve seen her fly short distances, but just in case she’s unable to fly to the bird bath, we’ve set out a shallow dish of water.
We speak gently to our little feathered friend. Sometimes, she squawks in protest at Ron’s deep voice, but my softer granny tone doesn’t seem to frighten her.
Simple acts. Simple caring.
Each evening before going to bed, I follow an Ignatian prayer practice called The Examen. There are many different interpretations, but this is my favorite:
Prayer of Examen
1) Give Thanks.
2) Ask God to reveal your sins.
3) Examine how you lived this day (thoughts, words, deeds).
4) Ask forgiveness.
5) Ask God for the grace to amend your ways.
Ask these 2 Key Questions:
Where did I experience God’s love today?
How did God’s love impact the way I lived my life?
I appreciate the simplicity of The Examen. For the past few evenings, one of my thanks has been that little Abby made it through another day.
Abby’s injured wing is evident in this photo.
As I said earlier, I have no profound insights concerning simplicity, but one I’m learning from Abby is:
simplicity is not complex.
And, perhaps that’s the point Jesus was trying to make!
Jesus, Teacher on our Journey,
You used the simple story of a little bird to illustrate the certainty of God’s love
Enable me, despite life’s complexities, to welcome and walk into the simplicity of this profound truth.
Blessings as we consider complexity and step into simplicity,