A Real Bird-Brain

Last Spring, a blue bird took one look at the inside of our house and decided he wanted in. The persistent little fellow bashed into our breakfast room window hundreds of times over the course of several months, knocking himself silly several times.

Why did he persist in this crazy self-harm? Why did he believe the inside of our boring house would be better than the glorious outdoors? I have no idea. After all, we roast poultry in the adjoining kitchen AND we have a cat.

We tried everything to shoo him away—erecting a giant plastic owl on our balcony railing, extending the awning every morning, and even cranking up rock-and-roll on our outside speakers. The latter idea lasted exactly ten minutes, promptly ending after a call from our disenchanted neighbor. Nothing worked.

Toward the end of the summer, he disappeared and we all heaved sighs of relief. It was disconcerting to watch and hear God’s sweet creature exert such energy to a futile effort.

Bang! Yesterday, the familiar sound reverberated across the house, rocking my quiet study again. The silly thing had returned. After a year! All day, it continued hammering toward its goal of accessing the Willis home. And, yes, he’s back at it today. Sigh.

Aren’t we all like this crazy blue bird? Don’t we set our sights on something and continue doing the same things over and over to achieve the elusive goal?

When I was sixteen years old, I decided it was time to get a job. I asked everyone I knew to help. I almost drove my parents crazy, begging them to introduce me to their friends who might be in a position to hire me. This went on for months.

One afternoon as I sat frustrated in my room, a silent voice in my head urged me to go find my own job. I blinked. How could I do that? I didn’t have a car. In fact, at that point, I didn’t even have a driver’s license. That voice wouldn’t stop. For days I listened to it and did nothing.

Finally, I donned a cute outfit and walked up the hill to a new retail center bordering our neighborhood. A drugstore, under construction, caught my eye. I gathered my courage, strode in, and introduced myself to the manager who was directing the placement of the pharmacy shelves. He hired me on the spot. I worked the front counter my last two years of high school and the first two years of college. I wouldn’t trade that work experience for anything.

I believe that silent voice was God. He knew the depths of my frustration and pushed me out of my comfort zone. Deuteronomy 2:2-3 speaks to this quandary to the Israelites:

The Lord said to me, “You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north.

Sometimes we need to change course to achieve what we want. I couldn’t rely on others to find me a job; I needed to do it myself. My silly little bird is not going to find shelter inside our house; it needs to nest in a nearby tree.

Do you need to reevaluate a path you’ve chosen to achieve a goal? If your strategy isn’t working, it may be time to “turn north.” I’d love to hear your success story.

Also, since my bird-brained friend will probably be hanging around this summer, I need to name him. Any ideas?