A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dave's Deep Thoughts - A Life Lesson from Flower Box #7

Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.

I’d been told about bats in the belfry,
and foxes in the hen house,
but mama never warned me about the flowerbox.

I learned my love for flowers from my mother.
Each spring, we would go to a local nursery
and pick our favorite flowers to plant.

Now that she’s gone,
I still keep the tradition,
as I keep many flowerboxes around the outside of my home.

Watering the flowers each morning is part of my quiet, reflective time.
As I move from flowerbox to flowerbox,
it is a time of prayer for me.

Sometimes, I offer thanksgivings,
sometimes I express concerns,
and sometimes I become quiet and wait for God to speak.

I have 10 flowerboxes that I visit with my garden hose each day.
One particular morning,
I was having one of those quiet moments with God.
I had been facing some challenges in my life
and needed reassurance.
I needed God to comfort me.

Oddly enough He spoke when I came to box #7,
a box filled with daisies and salvia,
It was just that I didn’t realize it at the time.

It was the tiniest of voices,
you might say a peep.
At first I ignored it, but as I ran the hose sprinkler over the box,
I heard it again.

As I stopped, I heard it a bit louder,
and now repeated.
I gently moved the flower leaves
and there was a mother bird
brooding over her nest.

I was inches away from her.
She stayed because she’s a mother
and mothers protect their young.
It was then that I named her Lovey.

She was soaked from my latest aqua barrage
Although I am not fluent in bird language,
Lovey’s eyes said it all…….
“If you turn that hose on me again,
this is going to get ugly…..”

I was left with a moral dilemma….
do I let mama alone to hatch her young,
or do I water my very  dry flowers?

I tried to see her side of it.
For days now,
she was faithfully warming her eggs,
and then I would come by.
and turn her little nursery into a full-service car wash.
Not exactly optimal birthing conditions.

The next day, I approached box #7.
I gently turned the sprinkler on
so as to only water the soil on either side of the nest.
We made eye contact.
She gently raised her wings to fully protect her children-to-be.
At first her eyes said
“Don’t make me do what I have to do.”

And then Lovey realized
that I wasn’t going to hose her down like a fireman at a four alarm fire.
That was the moment when Lovely let her guard, and her wings down.

For the next several days,
I would come to box #7 and say hi to Lovey.
We were building a bond.

One day,
I came with my hose and my well wishes
and found not eggs, but three chicks under Lovey’s wings.
I promptly named Huey, Duey, and Louie.

Lovey was glowing,
and her chicks were beautiful, safe, and protected.
And that was the moment that I realized that God was speaking to me.

All those things that were causing unrest in my spirit,
meant nothing when I realized that I too was loved and protected.

As Lovey chirped at me,
all I could hear was…..
“Look at the birds of the air,
they do not sew or reap or store away in barns
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable then they?” (Matthew 6:26)

In the weeks to come,
Lovey and the kids spread their wings, left the nest,
and explored their world

Meanwhile I kept watering boxes 1-10.
But every time I came to box #7,
I was reminded that all any of us need in life,
are really the simplest things….
love, a safe home, a meal on the table,
and a parent that would do anything to protect you.

Everything else takes care of itself.

As we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas,
may you know that when you have the simplest things of life,
you have everything you need,
and may you find great peace in that.

How do I know??
A little bird told me……..

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