Recently, a small bird got into our porch through a small hole in the screening. I discovered it while taking out the trash and left the back door open, hoping it would find its way out.
Five minutes passed, then ten. The little bird flew around frantically, banging against the screens and the sliding glass doors to the kitchen. I attempted to shepherd it out, careful to not frighten it further and cause harm. As it flapped and flailed, it occurred to me that many of us deal with our obstacles and challenges in this way. Another opportunity or path to freedom, happiness or well-being is within reach, but we flit around in fear and frustration, unable to see the open door in front of us.
Often, we ignore or dismiss help from others. Maybe we did it once before a certain way and it worked. Maybe our family of origin or “tribe” does things a certain way so we think that’s what we need to do too. Or maybe it’s just gotten to where we’re flying blind in a state of panic. God may offer guidance or even a direct intervention in answer to our prayers. In our state, we can’t recognize or accept the way out because it may not fit what our rational, thinking minds or our stuck patterns of relating find familiar or “safe.”
I soon realized the best thing for me to do was leave the porch. Eventually, the bird found its way out and sought refuge in the privet hedge next door. Birds seem to have a better internal compass for those things than we do. They are far more in tune with the gifts of the universe – a sigh of a breeze, the tiptoe of sunlight and whisper of trees tells them everything they need to know.
Usually, we resist the open door until we’re ruffled, weary and a little bit bruised. Only then may we be ready to stop flying blind, spiraling and terrified. Only then we can cross the threshold to rest in a different way of living or being, learning to trust the gift of freedom we’ve been given.
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