Early one spring morning, while sipping my second cup of coffee, a mama chickadee and four babies settled onto branches on the bush outside the window. I’d seen them coming, and she flew while her little ones fluttered. They were darling, and the littlest one had little feather tufts on his all over making him look like he’d just gotten out of bed.
Their mother cheeped and seemed to be talking to them. Suddenly, she took off. The new chickadees looked at each other before looking into one of our apple trees where we could all hear her singing to them. Three of the babies stretched their new wings, peeped a song back to her, and flew off in her direction. The mama sang out again. The last little one stretched his wings and tried to peep an answer, but his “voice” was scratchy and off-key.
He tried again. And again. Between tries, he’d listen to her and his sibling who had joined in the call for him to come.
For over an hour, I watched that baby and prayed for him. His mama didn’t rejoin him in the bush, but she continued to wait and sing to him. I sort of loved that about her. She wasn’t the only chickadee singing in our neck of the woods. There were dozens flitting and chickadee, dee, deeing. But her little one stayed focused on her song, stretched his wings, and tried again. He sounded worse, and I wondered if his throat was sore from trying.
He hunkered back down for a bit – his funky feathers stood out even more. I prayed for him. Again.
His siblings came back to him and peeped at him, then flew back to their mother. Still, he sat. I told God, “I’ll take care of him if she leaves and he can’t go. Please show me how to help him. He’s so cute and vulnerable. Please, Father. Give this little guy the ability to fly.”
He stretched his wings again, looked towards the apple tree where his family waited before he let loose with a victorious “chickadee, dee, dee!” Then, he took off like he’d been doing it for years. No hesitation, no funky little dip. Full flight.
He’d found his song!
I thanked God then did the next most natural thing in my world. . .I called my mama. I had two reasons for the call; her favorite bird was the chickadee, and we talked at least once a day for most of my life. On that day the dementia that would slowly and surely steal her from us had started, but it didn’t have her fully.
She laughed and said, “That’s just like you and me. I call, and eventually you come.” I giggled back loving that she had that way of being both honest and loving.
Then she said, “And it’s just like us and Jesus.”
Yep – that’s the way our conversations often went – from the earthly to the eternal.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Think about what Jesus said about the sheep and the voice of the shepherd,” she said.
We were interrupted by something, and our call ended I went to John 10 and read about the Good Shepherd and focused on verses 14, 27 & 28. . .
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep, and my sheep know me. . .”
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
A few minutes later, Mama called me back.
“Honey, I love that chickadee story you told me. I’m a little bit like him. Sometimes, when my brain doesn’t work, I can’t find my song either.”
We cried together in that bittersweet moment as we acknowledged what we knew was happening.
Then she said, “But like your little chickadee, I’ll always know His voice and someday I’ll find my song too, and I’ll fly away to Him.”
And she did.
Leaving me behind broken-hearted, but believing. And singing the old hymn she loved and sang. . .
- Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
- Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels, descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
- Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.
Written by Fanny Crosby, 1873, Public Domain
As I wrote this post, an adult chickadee sat on the same bush outside the window, singing. Some might say it was her singing to me, but honestly – that’s just too weird. She’s with Jesus loving me from where she is. But the little bird was a blessing from the Creator. Nothing more and nothing less. And a sweet blessing in the midst of day where I was struggling to write – some days are just that way. I was struggling to write this post. I knew it was one He wanted me to put out here, and I was hesitating the way I sometimes do. Was the little bird a confirmation? I don’t know, but his appearance on the branch felt like a gentle nudge from God urging me to write the thing. So I did. Because Mama taught me to do that too. Every time I dallied, she said, “Come on Joy, you can do this!”
Sometimes a person’s song is the one their Mama sang to them.
Until Next Time,