Black-capped Chickadees are my favorite birds. They are so friendly and nosy. They bounce toward the bird feeders like tiny Tiggers in the Hundred Acre Wood. They communicate with up to sixteen different calls, making these North American forests ring with their chatter in any season. After I fill my feeders, Chickadees are the first birds to feed. Soon cardinals, woodpeckers and all kinds of finches follow these entrepreneurs of the neighborhood.
I heard the “dee-dee-dee” in the distance this morning on my walk. I wasn’t feeling particular chipper. I missed our great dane, my walking buddy. He got violently sick a week ago, and we decided to have him put down. He was over eight years old, a ripe age for a dane. When I came across Thor’s giant paw prints in the mud from the last time we walked, I felt a deep sadness. Other waves of sorrow hit me. The loss of a good friend after Christmas, the breast cancer diagnose of a church member, and relationship issues among people I love dearly, all added and fed my tears. My boots hung like heavy weights around my ankles as I drudged through the last bit of ice on the path. Then, I did what I do when I don’t have answers, I talked to God about it. I asked him what I ask him on so many walks,
“Father, help me to know you are here. I don’t want to leave without your blessing.”
Again, I heard the Chickadees in a nearby tree and remembered I had a little sandwich bag full of black oil sunflower seeds in my pocket. I had actually returned to the car earlier to get it. During the long winter months, I often grabbed a handful of seeds and left them for the birds and other critters in the woods. Today, when I heard the Chickadees, I had a better idea.
I took my smartphone out of my coat and searched for Chickadee calls on the internet. Within a few seconds, I played back a call to the couple of feathered friends nearby. I noticed a wooden fence along the path and put out a few seeds along the narrow plank. Then, I filled up my hand with seeds, steadied it on the fence, and waited. Within a couple of minutes a Chickadee hopped along the wood, ignored the few seeds I had laid out, and jumped right into my open palm.
I was ecstatic and held my breath. My new friend took a seed and sat there for a few seconds, looking at me with black, beady eyes and a cocked head. He flew off only to repeat the process two more times. His petite body hardly had any weight to it. His feet were like the tiniest twigs, tickling my fingers. I wanted desperately to pet his downey feathers. How could this beautiful creature be so bold to trust me? We, two different species, both created for a purpose, suddenly connected in this gentle moment. I can’t adequately describe what happened in my heart. One thing I knew, it was a beautiful confirmation of my prayer. It was an unexpected, giant blessing. It felt as if God spoke tenderly to my heart, showing me his creation in a new and lowly way.
God truly sees and knows. He cares for the bird. But how much more does he care for man, who seeks him with all his heart and waits and listens intently in expectation.
“Call to me and I will answer you,
and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”
Isiah 33:3 (ESV)