… and the livin’ is easy.
It was one of those rare summer days when the temperature and humidity levels were ideal. A gentle breeze stirred the netting surrounding my gazebo, inviting me to a quiet moment on my deck.
I stretch out on the lounge chair and watch my little brothers and sisters (as St. Francis would call them) move about in their own unique style: rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, birds whose names I have yet to learn. They all are properly equipped to get wherever they need to go at the speed required, spending their time on whatever is most important.
How many times Jesus pointed to various animals and plants to illustrate some truth, some words of wisdom that easily pointed to a way of spiritual growth. He was speaking to humble people, to those he referred to as the “little ones,” the ones who would find and enter the Kingdom of heaven before the self-appointed great ones.
“Consider the ravens,” he said, choosing a bird who was the least likely to appeal to us with its plain somber feathers and raspy voice. But ravens are smart enough not to spend their time needlessly, toiling to fill barns while they let the beauty of life slip by them.
“Consider the lilies of the field.” They are clothed more royally than King David himself.
Most often, the lesson centered on the relationship between us and our heavenly Father. Jesus certainly knew the nature of God, since he shared in it. Moreover, he maintained a constant and prayerful connection with the Father. Instead of using complicated theological language, he turned to everyday, familiar things, using them as metaphors to describe the inscrutable God: women scouring the house looking for a lost coin; a farmer sowing seeds; trees bearing fruit; so many more everyday situations. All this to model for us an awareness of our surroundings and the ability to connect them to our interior life with God.
These lessons center on our need not for things, but for trust in God: trust in his love and care for us, always here with us and transforming events (even “negative” ones) into stepping stones to union with him.
And so I continue to watch and marvel at my little friends, both furry and feathered. We may be the brainy ones on the planet, but these others have much to teach us.