A wren landed on the railroad tie at the edge of my wildflower garden while I was weeding. I had dropped a small pile of dirt that was clumped to the roots of the weeds, and the warm sun had dried the soil to a powdery dust. It was just right for a little bird to enjoy a dirt bath. The wren watched me for a moment, decided I was no threat, and he dove in. Reveling in the warm dusty soil, he lost himself in the moment and fell off the tie onto the grass.
I couldn’t help but laugh. With his feathers literally ruffled, he flew to the branch above my head and scolded me. I guess he thought it was my fault. Until that moment, I didn’t know birds experienced embarrassment. He finally gave up his verbal tirade and sat and watched me.
“Silly bird!” I called to him.
I took a break from my work to contemplate the lesson of the wren. Sitting on my bench, I realized that sometimes, I behave just like the little bird with the big song. When I do something embarrassing, I’d rather blame someone or something else too. My internal defenses rise as pride tells me it can’t be my fault. Shame shows up, and I can feel my cheeks redden.
If someone laughs before I have time to see the humor in it, anger joins pride, and I find myself wanting to scold that person for making my circumstance worse. When I have chosen not to hold my tongue, my embarrassment is multiplied.
Although I usually recover quickly, like the wren, I sulk for a bit because my blunders are not fun, even if they are funny. Eventually, a merciful relief floods my soul as I let God have His way with my feelings. I join in the laughter, pride retreats, my cheeks cool, and my embarrassment eases.
A few minutes after his fall from the dirt bath, the wren hopped to a branch closer to me. His humiliation and frustration were forgotten as he sat there singing with his whole body. It was as if he’d forgiven me. I went back to my weeding glad for his presence, and blessed by his jubilant solo.
“When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” (James 1:19-20)
“Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord. . .” (Ephesians 5:19b)
For the Birds:
Many birds like a dust bath to rid their bodies of parasites. You can make one for them by outlining a 3’ x 3’ area with attractive bricks or rocks. Fill the area with an equal mix of sand, loam, and sifted ash to give them a waterless bathing pool. Gravel driveways are also favorites for many birds.
Until Next Time,
If you’d like to know more about Under His Wings, click on the book cover below.