|Posted by Donna Dawson on January 15, 2014 at 7:55 AM|
I saw him as a red blur from the corner of my eye. I was supposed to be focusing on the music swelling around me--songs of praise, triumph and love. The cardinal's crimson flash shattered my determination in the single flick of a pinion and I turned my head to marvel. His ruddy plumage contrasted the alabaster crystals dusting the dead and crumbling blooms of the butterfly bush outside the window. A growing wind gripped their spindled arms and waved them in mimicry of the puppeteer's command. The cardinal flitted again hopping from one branch to another. Ebony eyes peered through the glass studying the strange sight of this large room filled with voices lifted in song. As though keen to join in the chorus--to perhaps show us all what true song is--he leapt. The small body thudded against invisible glass sending a ripple of shock and vibration through rumpled feathers. He found his perch again. Cocking his head from side to side he studied the unseen barrier and leapt again. The results were the same.
I watched as the cardinal jumped over and over again and my mind screamed at him to wait! To let me open the window so he could join in the praise! I didn't move. No one would thank me for letting the bird find its freedom in the chaos of noise and bodies. The bird didn't understand that the song would cease upon his entrance, replaced by the scurrying and reaching of hands to shoo this visitor back into the cold.
I thought about how alike we were--are. I come to the edge of what I think I need--what I want. An invisible hand restrains me. I see and hear what I think is beauty--what I should have--and I leap at it--fighting the hand that keeps me from the chaos and the grasping fingers. I don't understand. I get angry. I persist in my stubbornness and I slam against his will again and again--and again. I lose sight of the bruises I cause. I push through the pain of displaced plumage. I persist in spite of a growing awareness that I will never succeed in going to a place He will not allow me to find.
It takes the wisdom of a fellow worshipper to bring resolution. He draws the blind--blocks out the view--opens the bird's eyes to barrier and the stubborn, beautiful cardinal becomes aware of what has kept him from his goal. He takes flight and leaves us--turning his back on that which is harmful to him.
I am grateful for a God who sets the barriers in place and when I persist in my stubbornness, he draws the blinds.