We’d not seen them until a couple of months ago.
Then they showed up in droves.
They’re unusual birds, with red beaks and feet that dangle when they fly. The sound they make is somewhere between a squawk and a tweet, and when they’re moving, it’s nonstop noise.
Whatever they are, they’re never alone.
We were on our back porch one evening and heard this ruckus above us. There had to have been close to twenty birds, all flying together, all talking at once.
Who was in charge of this fiasco?
They circled our pond once before alighting on the grass by the bank.
Then about ten more flew in. All of them with a voice. Then more came.
They stood close to one another, beak to beak, all of them warbling together.
They reminded me of our family during the holidays. Everyone speaks a little louder just to be heard over the cacophony.
It’s the loud of love. When those who care for one another are so excited to share with those they love their thoughts, feelings, and whatever runs through their minds.
I see it happening now. In zoom meetings, we constantly interrupt one another, wanting to share thoughts, not having been physically present with one another for quite some time. Without a physical presence, it’s easy to miss subtle nonverbal cues as others are talking.
That, or you do what I do, and forget to unmute myself. My lips are going and nothing is coming out.
We’ve grown somewhat accustomed to interacting over devices. Younger people do it all the time and find it sustainable. For those of us who enjoy being in the presence of the other person with whom we communicate, it can be difficult to feel really connected, that we’re really understanding the nuances of all that’s being shared.
We can’t afford to lose those connections now. More than ever we need one another to help us bear tough burdens, hold challenging confidences, be the affirming words we all need to hear.
Jesus reminded us that the second great commandment was to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with what we need or want right now, to sense despair and disappointment with what won’t happen as we’d planned. Self-focus isn’t hard; it’s what we do naturally. Choosing to love others with that same perseverance, that focused mindset, is harder.
Especially when we’re not feeling like we have it together.
The night before His crucifixion–and He knew it was coming–Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. An act of love and service to them that reflected His deep commitment to them. And as an example of how they should treat one another, selflessly other-focused. He didn’t moan and groan about the burden He was about to bear. He encouraged His men instead to be unified in heart and mind, to support each other because it was about to get very hard for them.
Even with emotions at their tipping point, we now need to reach out to help others. With Jesus’ help, we can learn to genuinely care.
And like those delightful birds, we’ll be able to fly better together.