There is something weird about me. Birds, when they get too close make me nervous. Birds, at a distance, are also some of the most beautiful things in the world. When a bird suddenly flies up while I am walking I jump and get really nervous. When I see a bird of prey through my car window I am liable to pull over and watch for extended periods. I don’t get it either.
I blame the giant rooster from my childhood who survived the coyote attack that killed the rest of the chickens. He got some sort of post trauma injury and would attack us if we went in; even if you didn’t go in he would stare at you with eyes that I’m pretty sure glowed red and that would bore through to your soul if you stood outside the coop too long. Terrifying.
In any event, because of this jumpiness people might be surprised to learn that I’m becoming quite an ornithologist. The favorite things I’ve seen this week is the mating pair of mallard ducks that have moved into our little pond. I’ve made up whole stories about why they’ve moved to the country to get away from it all. The two of them sat quietly down there all week, every time I would drive in they would be sitting side by side watching the world go by. I’ve also been a little jealous that Joel and the kids spotted an owl of some sort the other day. We’ve narrowed it down to a Great Gray or an adolescent Snowy Owl. Yellow eyes and lack of tufts narrow it down to those. Our little bird feeder has become a favorite spot for all sorts of song birds and I chased away a woodpecker from my deck this week too.
This week we’ve also watched the land erupt with all kinds of kids, all over this place. Thursday night we seriously enjoyed hosting several care groups and once again realized how hard it is to be a teenager. Especially a teenager with disability. I watched a group of four girls talk about their experiences with a boy at school and the hostility he treats them with, the mock attention he gives, their perception is so skewed. It makes me want to stand up and shout at someone. Instead we invite them here. We try to live out family life well in front of them. Loving our children first even in the midst of all the chaos that is happening around us…could this be the first time they’ve seen a functional family? Could we light a small fire that they could warm themselves beside? Could that carry them through the week ahead? We hope so and as we watch care group leaders full of grace and patience I’m almost sure of it. Last night Joel spoke at church and about half way through the evening my throat stopped up as I saw afresh the passion with which he speaks of his call to the oppressed youth of our community.
I’m a little scared of marginalized teenagers to be honest. Its different from birds though…teenagers are much more beautiful face to face, one on one, if you dare get close enough.