Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
These days the world can look a bleak and frightening place, whilst in our own lives we have times of fear and worry. Sometimes we seem to be facing a long dark tunnel from which there seems no escape. Everything is getting on top of us. Sadly, pain is real and can’t be avoided this side of eternity. Some of us may have more years behind them than in front –sorry to remind you! Yet there is light, there is hope – just look out of the window.
As I was clearing some of the overgrown bushes in the garden yesterday I came across a deserted blackbird’s nest carefully tucked into the branches of the thorny cotoneaster bush. Such a neat tidy little nest formed of woven twigs and grasses with a lining of mud. How did you make that, Mrs Blackbird, having only your beak to work with? Where did you learn the skill not only to form such a sturdy structure, but how to place it on such a firm foundation? Is there a University somewhere that runs a Building and Construction course for blackbirds? Then across the garden I marvelled at the sheer skill involved in the design and building of the intricate and beautiful web that Sister Spider had woven. For such tiny creatures, having what we humans would describe as limited intelligence to be able to do this is, I think, pretty amazing. What is even more amazing is that God should have given these tiny creatures such skills. But He has, and for a purpose, for as the Bible tells us: “O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all” (Psalm 104:24). And, yes, that includes us!
With a heavy heart, I threw the now empty and unwanted nest into the bin. It had served its purpose of providing a safe home for fledgling chicks. It was now abandoned having outlived its usefulness. Yet as I did so I was reminded that new life will return. Next year Mrs Blackbird, or her daughter will return to build a new nest in the bushes of our garden where she will raise her young family. And next year too, Sister Spider will weave new webs between the shrubs to catch the insects to feed her offspring. The cycle will begin again. So you see, there is light, there is hope.
In the same way the old, empty husk of man will pass away but by faith it will be renewed into eternal life for as St Paul says: “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” 2 Corinthians 5:1 NIV.
Whatever our worries, our fears, let us take comfort from those words. Deo Gratia.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years