I witnessed an unusual sight today. So odd, in fact, that I had to go back & take another look...
I had to make two trips to our rural veterinarian clinic that day. Storms were rolling in & black clouds threatened to bring another spring downpour. As I traveled the two-lane blacktop road during the first trip, I noticed a female Kildee bird sitting on the gravel by the roadside. I could have sworn as I drove by she rose up, looked at me & spread her wings as far as she could spread them. You know, kildees do that. They act "big and bad" to "scare" their enemies away from their nests.
On my second trip I looked for her, & there she was, in the same spot, right beside the road. One jig to the right, and a car would most likely run right over her. She wouldn't have time to get out of the way. So I turned my vehicle around & went back to get another look. I was worried that perhaps she was injured & needed my help. Surely she wasn't just sitting there on purpose!
As I pulled up beside her, she rose up, looked at my vehicle and threatened me with every fiber of her being. She "yelled" her warning at me. It sounded sortof like "kill! kill! kill!" It was as if that crazy bird actually thought she was able to defeat her "giant"! She started charging the truck like she was capable of unleashing all of hell's fury against it! I was a little offended by that tiny bird... Why, she hurt my feelings! I was just checking to see if she needed help! Of all the nerve!
It was then that I saw the tiny nest she was sitting upon. Right there beside the road! This little mama had decided to hatch her young'uns in such a dangerous place, yet she was willing to defend them, even if it meant losing her life!
I left her in peace & found myself saying a prayer for her. As rain began to fall, I pictured this poor little bird, soaked to the skin, feathers all wet, sitting there willing to die to protect those precious eggs she was sitting upon. "Please God," I silently prayed, "Let her live. Keep the passing cars within the confines of the blacktop, & don't let them run over her & crush the eggs she cares for so much."
That little bird's fervent willingness to protect reminded me of Jesus' words: "Greater love has no one than this, than one lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) While the kildee's willingness to protect her young is based upon the instinct God placed within her for survival, Jesus' willingness to lay down His life for me is not instinct, but love. True, genuine, time-tested, pure love. Love is so important to God that His first commandment requires that of us: LOVE. We are to love God with every fiber of our being. And secondly, we are to love others more than we love ourselves. (Matthew 22:36-40) Most of us care quite a bit about ourselves, don't we? What if we loved everybody around us as much? Even our enemies? (who, by the way, God calls us to love as well.) Wow! That'd be some pretty strong love, wouldn't it?
I took some time to thank God for laying down His life for me, and for the love which He so freely bestows. Then I said another little prayer thanking Him for reminding me of that love by the actions of one certain little kildee.
I intend to go back by tomorrow in hopes that the little bird will let me move her nest to the grassy slope, a little further from the road. Not because I didn't really believe God would answer my prayer to protect her, but to make sure He has not called me to do more... in His love, you know?
'Cause love really isn't love 'til you give it away. I intend to hand mine out wherever He asks me to. How about you?
Heather Thomas Van Deren