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Lessons from a Bird

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

I have never been one for bird watching. Perhaps I find their erratic movements to jarring or maybe their sweet songs often used in musical and movie alike have never struck a chord with me. I don’t know. All I know is that when birds show up I tend not to notice, and if I do then I tend to move along.

Today though I have to admit that I have actually enjoyed a bird’s company, not because of what was said (I am after all, no St. Francis) but because of what was done, and what was done is well worth telling you about.

To set the scene for you, I was up extra early sipping on a hot cup of coffee watching nature and man rise for their day. Of course there were cars zipping by, and sounds from the nearby forest and who can forget that always stunning sunrise as it peaks just above the horizon almost waiting for me to notice. Well sitting there as I was on my porch, I was suddenly visited by a hungry bird not a few feet from me. Its presence by the way, is a testimony to my son’s cleverness over the choice of birdseed and style of house, which no doubt is the envy of many a bird in the neighbourhood. But I digress. Deciding that the porch was big enough for the both of us I continued to sip my coffee while the bird casually ate in front of me, or so I thought. The bird again caught my attention because I noticed that it was unusually messy as it ate, dropping it seemed, more on the ground than it could have possibly put in its stomach; and that’s when I realized something.

The bird was trying to stuff its beak not satisfy its hunger. It was trying to hold on to as much of the seed as possible in order to take it back with it, wherever it was going. And that is a fascinating reminder.

In essence, the bird was doing what you and I are called to do in our spiritual lives, for even as we are busy filling our hunger for spiritual truths and religious experiences, we are at the same time responsible for sharing that fruit with others. Like a bird filling its beak, it is incumbent on each one of us to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to those in our lives, but we are to do it seed by seed while we too are being nourished. And those are two important details.

There are too many of us who believe that we can help others to swim by drowning them in every spiritual endeavour, but that’s not how it works.

There are too many of us who believe that we can stay spiritually healthy by focusing on how other people are doing, but that misses the mark entirely. Today get back on track by being a bird. Find a way to feed yourself spiritually. Go to Confession or attend the Holy Mass. Read the Bible or the wisdom of some great saint. And once you do, bring a seed or two of that to someone who needs it. Who knows, you might just fill a hunger they did not even know they had.

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