I remember I was sitting at my office desk one hot summer afternoon. I was sifting through some of my x-date cards determining my plan of action for that day. I heard a slight swooshing sound and then the frontal glass that expanded the entire length of our office space exploded. It sounded literally like we had been hit by a hand grenade. The glass splintered into millions of little square pebbles that scattered to the ground and spread out like sparks from a sparkler stick. I jumped approximately 3 feet in my rolling chair, the chair flew out from under me and I landed bum first onto the hard commercial carpeted floor. When I collected my thoughts and could truly begin to see what had transpired, I picked myself up off the floor and ventured towards the open air that was wafting now into the building. Lying flat out on the concrete walkway was a grackle blackbird. His blacker than black feathers shown like blue rainbows in the hot sun, his seemingly lifeless body unmoving but for the gentle sway of his feathers in the wind.
Birds are an intricate part of God’s creation. By design they have acute vision, being able to figure out distances, and miniscule details with great precision. Yet, even with their remarkable vision it is common for birds to hit the window. It is believed that they are easily deceived by the reflections that project back off the trees and landscape. A bird would believe that they are still moving forward when suddenly they run smack into reality. If they live through it, they sit up, look around, wonder what could have happened and then take flight again. As they pass another building with clear glass windows they see trees and landscapes and continue in the deceitful flight, easily deceived again. BAM! Glass shatters and they fall to the ground.
Are we not just like the bird? I know I am. We are naturally stubborn, independent, rebellious people who believe we know the way in which we should go regardless of the warning signs or if we have done this before. In a twelve step program they would tell you that is the insanity of the disease, doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. How easily we are deceived by the grandeur of the offer in front of us that we fail to see the people standing with neon signs at each mile marker “stop”, “dead end”, “explosives ahead!” God is the one offering us spiritual glasses to navigate the bright rays and provide clarity to change the insanity and seek refuge.
I have recently been watching someone I love dearly hit the glass. Deceived by skilled gestures of chivalry and hollow promises, the childhood dream and blind hope of a future of happiness, the desperation of others already perceivably enjoying that life. Fully focused on the limited vision, centering life around something expected to be on the other side of the glass, sold out to its possibilities and completely cuckolded by trickery; as is the serpent’s way. On the other side of that glass is the truth. The glass is clear. The happily ever after does exist. It contains the hope of life eternal, the dreams that come true, the treasure of life inside by the refiner’s fire. But the reflection taints the glass, fogs up the window and limits the visual clarity of what is inside.
As I sit here contemplating how to gently nudge this little bird’s nose into the glass as to avoid a repetitive concussion, God’s words say this about the bird and glass..
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the Father.” Matthew 10:29
“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but, then I will know everything completely. Just as God now knows me completely.” Corinthians 13:
He is in control even when we fall. He is inviting us to come to the window. He dusts us off and pulls us up and undoes the latch. Then He whispers…
91 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say[a] to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge[b]—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will hold you there
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
The truth: the way to shatter insanity, to break the cycle and see the new flight plan.
As God shakes the feathers of this wee little bird with His breath, it trembles. The presence of God stirs the heart, quickens its beating, and allows new life. Are we willing to leave the nest for the solid food found through the clearing?
The breath fills the lungs, the wings spread, the eyes are opened and the window has been raised: Shake it off, let it go and take flight on Eagle’s wings: chivalry is not dead.