The past weeks have been difficult and stressful for many of us, or perhaps all of us. It’s no exaggeration to say there have been sleepless nights, worries in the day, challenges in family life, and a kind of fogginess about where life is going. This is on top of the very real suffering that some of us have experienced or witnessed in relation to COVID-19.
In the midst of all of this, we can perhaps also acknowledge that there have been moments of grace and joy—when we have discovered something of God’s goodness, creativity, and grace. We have discovered this in one another and in the world around us. Not unlike in other seasons of our lives, moments of struggle and of grace are often set in tension alongside each other. (Continues below pictures…)
One of the ways in which I have experienced the grace and providential love of God in these days, has been through birds in our back yard. The pandemic season has happened to overlap, in the past few weeks, with the spring migration of all types of birds. In cool mornings on our back porch I have found a gracious reprieve from the anxiety and stress of the day. With their beautiful, feathered fluttering these birds have descended with God’s grace into my daily life and that of my family (though three teenagers are not always as excited about birds as their dad is!).
I acknowledge that there is a significant degree of privilege in this for me. Not everyone has a home with a heavily treed back yard, a porch to look out from, the time to spend, or a good camera to capture and share images of these migrating visitors. In fact, there seems something almost indulgent about bird-watching and photography in these days. Yet even in the face of this tension, there is beauty and, I think, a real graciousness of God toward me in what I have experienced.
I share these pictures as an expression of the joy and peace I have received and in order to share something of God’s beautiful creation, within reach. And with a prayer that in our everyday lives each of us might experience moments of God’s grace and love, whatever form they might take. Also, with a prayer that I/we might become those moments of Christ’s mercy and love for one another in difficult days.
Grace and peace.