I’m fairly certain God flipped me the bird last weekend. I don’t think he has anything against me, don’t get me wrong. But I can be dense, and I often need something out of the ordinary to get my attention. So this Saturday he sent me a bird.
I woke up to this gentleman, chirping and pecking. He was fully convinced that his reflection in my bay window was his nemesis, another male Baltimore Oriole, battling for his lady love. He was in full-on attack mode, knocking at the window with a vengeance. At first, I tried to shoo him away but that only worked for a minute or so. Then I tried ignoring him, but he was my own little orange Sheldon. “Knock, knock, knock. Susan? Knock, knock, knock. Susan?” I tried taping up paper to block his reflection. This is what I got:
So out I went, into the yard, trying to see what else I could do. Something orange flashed in the sky and there was my psycho bird, chasing another real live bird. He wasn’t totally nuts; he really had a nemesis. And then something came to me. I remembered this blog post that made an impression on me last week. Here I was in the middle of my backyard, and the author’s experience in reconciliation made me realize I was behaving, strangely, a little like this bird.
Danielle’s priest cut to the chase and helped her see that the sin she thought she was confessing was actually something else, something deeper. Her habitual lateness to Mass wasn’t really what she should be fixing, that was only a symptom. He said her real sin was pride, that her agenda, her getting-ready-routine, or whatever else kept her from getting to Mass on time was the sin she should be confronting. (I know you recently wrote about screeching into the church parking lot just before the Gospel, but wrangling dawdling children is a valid excuse. They put you in jail if you try to leave them behind and anyway, kids suck out your pride and dignity, so you’re good.)
Wow. Was God trying to tell me something? Through a confused bird? (Don’t laugh. If God can send visions and angels and tongues of fire, a bird is nothing.) I’ve been trying to get to confession more often but the last few times I’ve had a nagging feeling I wasn’t going deep enough or I was concentrating on the wrong things. Some part of my human brokenness (dare I say pride? fear?) is keeping me from confronting my true demons and making the confession I know I need to.
Which leads me to my bird.
I thought he was nuts, pecking at my window, lashing out against an imaginary foe. But his struggle was real–another bird WAS fighting him for territory. Like me, he was fighting the enemy (my sinfulness, his own reflection) but we were both just missing the mark. We both needed to get out of our own heads and see reality.
So this week I’m praying for a better examination of conscience before I head off to confession on Wednesday. “Please God, help me stop being such a bird-brain.” How’s that for a start?