Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fleeing from Our Responsibilities

It's been nagging at the back of my mind all day.  What would cause a mother to desert her young?

A third nest abandoned in the span of one week--one with three near naked fledglings tossed aside to the red barn's floor, another across the yard with a solitary egg tucked inside.  And then this morning, I water plants to find a third untended nest on the front porch baker's rack.

Surely we hadn't spent too much time swinging near her new home, not with summer raging, sending us all inside before noon.  Even our hunter cats prefer the activity of children on the carport, not this dull, far away nook. 

So why? Why invest this much of herself to just leave it all behind?

There were hours, even days of painstaking labor, of searching, finding, and carrying back a single stick per flight, like trying to move a beach one piece of sand at a time.

Yet, imbued with this God-given instinct to build, she did, knowing nothing more but the clutch of eggs in her belly and what her Creator set in her heart to do.

Late this afternoon as the sun began to creep down into her dark nest, I went back just to make sure the mother hadn't been out for morning tea with crickets and fresh rainwater.

No.  All four brown-stippled white promises huddled together, touching, tucked tightly away in brittle shells still exposed.

So much in life is like this, the starting and not finishing.

We pour days, years into people, responsibilities, promises.  And then we awaken one day to just leave that nest unfinished, making others ask the same question of us--how could we just up and leave? quit?

Sometimes, the reason is justified.  But all too often, we fail to follow through to the end when something is not turning out the way we anticipated; when the cold, wet, and rainy climate makes us more uncomfortable than we think we deserve to be; when the responsibility seems too much or interferes with something we'd rather do. 

When the going gets tough, we spread our wings and try not to look back, afraid of the conviction that might come if we saw what we were leaving behind.

I don't want to be one who breaks her promises, one who is flippant about her commitments, who thinks service should be a pot-hole-free path, who leaves others in a lurch just because I prefer the easy, carefree path soaring above versus being tethered below to my responsibilities.

And there it is, what I've been struggling with for the past couple of weeks--the burden of responsibility.

What to do when a responsibility becomes a burden? When a service, a ministry done in Christ's name is difficult and overwhelming? When others' refusal to commit, to take on a responsibility leaves a yoke unfilled in my hands.

Too many want to be  Mary, sitting at Christ's feet.  But what they don't realize I want to be her, too.  Plus, Martha gets a bad rap as the one Jesus chastened.  Honestly, who would want to be her?

But there's a balance here. I can't just fly off and sit at Jesus' feet all the time when He has called me to be His hands and feet.

I know it's oversimplifying the story and who Mary was, but I can't just be a sitting Mary. There's a time to serve the master and a time to sit at the master's feet.  And I must acquire the wisdom to tell the difference.


After working on this post, I walk out front to encourage my gutter-hanging husband to hang it up and call it a night.  White nightgown fluttering around bare feet, I move down the concrete porch to the nest, drawn, I guess, by the need to check just one more time, just once more.

I gaze into the dark hole.  This time, country white pearls don't gleam in the lamplight.  This time, the darkness moves, flutters, and I gasp, hurriedly step away.

In the cool of evening, she has come home, freedom in the heat of day re-tethered to her responsibility in the coolness of night. 

This little one knows already what I am struggling to grasp--the wisdom to know what time it is.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, what a powerful post!! I so relate to this. What people sometimes overlook is that there is worship in service. But just as you effectively wrapped this post up--to know what time it is!!! To sit with Jesus and then go out to serve home, family, others. Yet, I so often miss the timing.