We’ve just had an event which really did ruffle up my feathers and quite a few other things as well. Storm “Eunice” blew in, and humans gave out a “Red Weather Warning” for where we live. And I felt very sorry for all of my feathered friends out in the garden. The pheasants all hunkered down in a row beneath the hedge, and the Stock Doves sat down on the lawn, face-on into the storm because it was impossible for them to fly or to perch up in the trees. And the smaller birds such as the sparrows and blue tits retreated to the safety of the nest boxes which my owner has put up around the garden.
As each tempestuous gust blew through, the windows creaked and groaned in their frames, and all kinds of different sounds rolled into one as outdoor furniture was blown over and flowerpots and wheelie bins careered around the garden. A nearby tree trunk was snapped in two, and the door of the village phone box was blown clean off its hinges. By the time the storm had passed through, it had left all of the windows covered in salt which had been blown off the sea many miles away. What a carry on! We don’t get that kind of thing in Senegal!
Having said that, life here on Earth will always bring us different types of storm. For a parrot, that can be the pain of losing a mate or having a favourite tree cut down by humans. And for humans, it can be anything from the break-up of a relationship to losing a job. Life can sometimes be very unkind. So what should we make of it all? Is there a reason or a purpose behind it all? I think there is, because its often when the storm winds blow that we discover God:
“In order to realise the worth of an anchor we need to feel the stress of the storm.”
(Corrie ten Boon).
And Pope Francis, that friend of all things furry and feathered, totally agrees:
“We want Christ to hurry and calm the storm. He wants us to find Him in the midst of it first.”
Parrots and humans with a Christian faith are rarely protected from the storms of life. We are still subject to illness and disease; we still experience the pain of bereavement or the pain of divorce or rejection or failure. No, it’s not the absence of storms that sets us apart, but whom we discover as the storm winds blow. And it may take some perseverance and faith for us to get there:
“Faith is the conviction that God knows more than we do about this life and He will get us through it.”
Well, the storm outside has subsided, and all of my feathered friends in the garden have come through it unscathed. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. A much better day for everyone!
“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped…..The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ He got up, rebuked the wind and ……He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’”