For some mysterious reason, every afternoon about half an hour before sunset, a little bird flies between the slatted window panes of one of my kitchen windows and every evening settles onto the same bar in the same spot between the screen and the glass. It’s not easy for him to get in there. I’ve caught him in the act a few times, and it always takes him a few tries of flying up at just the right angle to get in. But he is there, without fail, every single evening. And every morning he is gone by the time I’m up.
It doesn’t matter who’s in the kitchen or how much noise we’re making. He will always sit there, in the same corner, facing out or sideways. He’ll glance at us sometimes, but he never seems bothered or frightened. It seems an unlikely and lonely place to stay. Why there and not in a nest with the other birds that sing and play outside my bedroom window in the mornings?
I could make up many stories about why I think he likes that spot. I don’t really care. I enjoy his company. It makes me smile to see him at night, and I’m always a bit sad when he’s gone on the morning because there’s always that chance he won’t come back that afternoon.
It hit me the other day that he’s my “bird on a bare branch”. Metal bars in a window are as bare as it gets. I like the daily visual reminder of the poem and prayer that I started this blog with. It’s a good reminder, especially at the end of a work day, about why I’m here. The visual image of Mozambique is certainly not bleak or barren or cold, but sometimes emotionally and spiritually it can feel that way.
I saw a little sparrow today outside my office, in the dirty courtyard where the rats usually run. It’s not a pretty place. It’s all concrete with puddles of slimy green water, and a corner where garbage is collected. I see rats running around there on a regular basis. But today there was a sparrow chirping away on a low wall. If that sparrow can fling her frail song, her pure melody, into that bleak air, then what’s to stop me? Especially when it is not for my sake, but for Thy sake.