We are immersed in an orchestra of sound. Residents at Parkvue Community announce they keep their televisions on for company. Various TV stations offer both comforting and disruptive information. Especially during this COVID-19 pandemic, noise presents an opportunity to distance oneself from experiencing the personal feelings of loneliness and isolation. Encouraging people to sit in the quiet, be present to the moment and be open to experiencing emotions can be difficult.
I enjoy stopping to pick up a breakfast sandwich on Sunday morning before beginning my day. After our entrance ritual of applying hand sanitizer, masking, taking temps and signing in, I usually sit at my desk. I eat while checking messages and finalizing last-minute preparations to lead worship. This past Sunday was warm and sunny. Appreciating the summer day, I decided to stop in a vacant parking lot, roll down my window and quietly enjoy nature’s gift.
Our Divine Creator’s Gifts
I quickly caught movement out of the corner of my eye. A white pigeon landed about 20 feet from my open car window. Living near the lake, pigeons are a common sight. Glancing quickly at the bird, I was caught by surprise. This elegant, peaceful bird was majestically standing on its ONE leg. I must admit to spending a few minutes, looking from different angles, trying to get a better glance. No, there was NOT a second leg. This lovely little bird gently took a few graceful hops while looking very normal and maintaining perfect balance. I was shocked! My balance is poor, and standing on one leg is a challenge. This bird was experiencing the fullness of life with obvious limitations. I continued to look in amazement at its beauty and perfect balancing skills. A few minutes later, totally ignoring me, God’s beloved creature took a giant leap and gently flew away.
Wonder in Our Midst
My brain immediately returned to the morning’s gospel lesson. Jesus was teaching and preparing his disciples to begin ministry. A small phase in this passage became living message: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted.” (Matthew 10:29-30) There, right in front of me, was a beloved creature of our divine creator. Not a care in the world, it was living its best life on ONE leg.
We Are Beloved
This pandemic, scenes of racial injustice and the stark contrasts of economic inequality has deeply impacted our society. Yet, as I later shared my “revised message” with our residents, I was reminded that all humankind, creatures and creation are unique, blessed and beloved. We are challenged to be open to the wondrous reminders of God’s eternal presence and amazing grace that invites us into the future.
Pondering the impact of the one-legged majestic bird on my own life, I feel blessed. Instead of my usual constant movement, I stopped to enjoy the beauty of a new day, quietly eating my favorite breakfast and fully experiencing the wonder of God’s beloved creature.
God Is Still Speaking
I believe our still-speaking God surprised me with a divine lesson: Yes, we are amid difficult times. Yes, many people are suffering, struggling with health issues, loneliness, isolation and despair. Yes, open to God’s amazing grace, we can still make time to enjoy the wonder and beauty of each day. I hold the image of the grace-filled, one-legged pigeon close to my heart. May we all remember to take time to be, breathe, reflect, give thanks and always be open to life’s wondrous blessings!