Sometimes life surprises us. I had just opened my computer and began to type. Sunlight poured in the windows. Fresh air circulated through the open door. I had been reflecting on my wrestling match with God over illness and forced rest. In that time, I hadn’t been at peace, not even to journal, but now, I felt free as thoughts flowed with every touch of the keys. Suddenly, a noise startled me, and I turned. Less than two arms lengths away walked a family of Grey-winged Francolin, a type of partridge. Apparently, they had not noticed me at the table and decided that an open door meant welcome to all, even birds.
If I was startled, the lead bird felt sheer terror and completly lost her wits. While the other five turned and fled back out the door, she took to the air and began to circle, leaving behind what birds so often do. To make matters worse, the cottage was built in two sections with a portion of the thatched roofing from the inner section descending down into the second section. With no way out above, my house guest made her landing in the thatch and proceeded to scramble to the highest point, sending down a shower of dust and debris.
Realizing there was no way she would leave her perch with me in the room, I ceded. Grabbing my laptop and journal, I headed outside to the veranda of the main house to continue my writing. About 20 minutes later, the other birds returned, looking for their companion. Wiser this time, they wandered about outside, squawking all the while. Once or twice, I heard a commotion inside the cottage, but still no Francolin coming through the double doors which I had opened wide on my way out. Another ten minutes, and I decided to peek around the corner. To my chagrin, there on the window sill teetered my speckled intruder, trying desperately to penetrate the glass.
“This will never work,” I thought, “I have to open those windows.” As I popped around the corner and headed toward the door, the Grey-wing saw me and had another moment of terror. She took to the air, looped around and slammed headlong into the second window. Momentarily stunned, she fell to the ground, but the shock must have reinfused her with a bit of good sense. Righting herself, she immediately noticed the wide open door. In good Francolin fashion, she took to her legs and bolted for the safety of her still squawking companions.
All’s well that ends well. No harm done, just a bit of a mess to clean up and a funny story to tell a few friends. But, am I not sometimes like that Grey-winged Francolin? Don’t I sometimes get myself into places where I have no business being, and then beat my head against the glass trying to find a way out. Sometimes, I say yes to possibilities when I really shouldn’t. I take on responsibilities that were never meant for me. As the weight of everything combined closes in, I feel trapped. Panic sets in, and I run about seeking desperately for a solution. Only after hours of agony and a few stiff blows to the head, do I regain my senses and notice the wide open door that God has left for me. I’m glad He is gracious and patient. I know there is more to learn from this.
Recently, God has been reminding me of Jesus’ deep connection to the Father. In John 5:19, Jesus says that He can only do what He sees the Father doing. Then in John 8:28, Jesus says that He can only say what the Father has instructed Him to say. Is this what He is also talking about in John 15, being so connected to the Vine that we are in tune with what the Father is doing and saying. I long for that and for the fruitful life that it produces. Only as I slow down to look and to listen will I see the Father and Hear His voice. Only as I abide in Him, will I recognize the confines of the garden cottages looming before me. Only then, will I turn to avoid those harrowing ordeals and to embrace what the Father has truly put before me as my responsibilities.