Monday, May 31, 2010
Our Children Are Not Our Own
Since we’ve lived in this house, the same little bird family builds a nest in the same place every year. I suppose we should feel flattered that they return to what they think is a perfect place to raise a family year after year! Yesterday my daughter came and found me to tell me that she saw a tiny bird that was so cute, “come see Mommy.” We peeked out the guestroom window to see a little baby bird on the ground and as the girls oooed and ahhhed over the tiny wonder I began to cry. I tried not to let them see my tears. They marveled at the sweet baby while I observed the frantic mama bird and papa bird panicking as they flew about. The little one tried to hop along a bit, obviously not ready to fly yet. I don’t know the whole story – did he fall out of the nest? Was there a problem with his wing when we took his first leap to fly? The only thing I knew was that something was wrong and the parents were terribly upset. They couldn’t pick him up and bring him back to the nest. In my adult life I’ve had two close friends deliver still born babies. I can’t imagine what that is like to panic at the news of a lifeless baby, to struggle knowing there is nothing you can do to return that little one to safety. All of these thoughts flooded my mind as I watched this bird family struggle. I then remembered the words a mother spoke at a funeral for her daughter who had just completed her PhD and flew home to be with family for the holidays. When she arrived home, she went to bed and didn’t wake up. At her funeral, her mother spoke and I’ll never forget what she said. She thanked the many people who sent her words of encouragement and comfort over the past few days. Many grieved over the fact that our friend died young. Who was the man she would have married? The children she might have had? The students she would have taught? Her mother simply said, “my daughter was not here for them. She was here for us.” Wow. I could not believe the strength, peace and wisdom of this mother who had just lost her daughter. Obviously she knew all along what I hope to know as a mother – that our children are not our own. They belong to God and are on a brief loan to us for such a time as He sees fit. Sometimes He only allows us to have them for a very brief moment. Psalm 139:16 says, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” I find comfort in this verse that tells me God knows the span of our life and his timing is perfect. I didn’t see the baby bird today. If he’s not flying around, I trust that he’s flying up in heaven!