The Bird in the Garage & The Bird with a Broken Wing

June 21, 2022

I have been touched by some of author Jeannie Blackmer’s writing.

Jeannie lives in Boulder, Colorado. I remember coming to Boulder after enjoying fantastic hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. It felt like something out of a John Denver song.

She is passionate about using the written word to encourage people in their spiritual growth. Jeannie confesses to the “sin” of possibly liking chocolate too much, but she is also passionate about scuba diving and beekeeping.

Like most other people living in that part of the world, she loves the outdoors. Jeannie also loves teaching courses in journaling. I agree with her that there is something special about writing things down and letting them flow out onto the page. When I am journaling, my writing often takes the form of prayer letters to Spirit.

Jeannie writes that her husband Zane and she have a large three-car garage with glass doors on the north and south sides. A bird had flown inside the garage, and the little feathered creature was desperate to get out.

The bird kept flapping its wings and slamming into the glass doors. “Feisty little guy. He’s not giving up,” Jeannie thought.

The bird’s “try and try again” attitude was in sharp contrast to how Jeannie was feeling that morning. There were a ton of worries and challenges in her life that day, and she felt like giving up.

First, there were serious worries about her aging parents. Second, there was her dear friend in hospice. Third, there were the “financial struggles” that Zane and Jeannie were facing. On top of that Jeannie was also dealing with some health-related challenges.

She got into her car, backed out of the garage, and left open one of the glass doors. The hope was that the bird would fly away home. (John Denver sang a beautiful song called Fly Away. Click here to listen.)

When Jeannie returned from her errands, she checked to see if the bird was gone. No, it wasn’t. Instead, the bird sat on the garage floor, “dazed but still alive.” This time she opened all the garage doors, and the clatter of the doors rolling up jolted the bird. The bird took off and was able to fly away.

“This tenacious bird reminded me not to give up, a reminder I really needed at that moment. That little bird was an example that if I persevere through hard times – even if I fly into obstacles – I’ll build character, and then hope will come,” Jeannie writes.

Jeannie remembered that her ultimate hope comes from Spirit, that promise to restore us and make us strong (1 Peter 5:10). “Sometimes I might feel dazed, but if I can endure difficulties and keep my eyes on (Spirit) … I will make it,” she adds.

I identify with both the bird and Jeannie! We might think we are so much smarter than that bird, and we are in some ways, but …

I remember walking in the woods at Unity Village, the headquarters of the Unity moment. I reached one of the lakes and saw a fish swimming near the shore. I looked at the fish and thought, “Fish, you think that lake is the entire universe. I can see so far beyond your perspective.”

The next day I was in the middle of a challenging class on theology. I was struggling to keep up with what, for me, were profound thoughts and mind-boggling concepts. I thought back to the fish and mused, “Okay, fish, my perspective and range of thought might be a little farther than yours. But in the final analysis, it is not all that much farther.”

Like the bird in Jeannie’s garage, many of us long to fly away home. All too often, we seem to be flying into glass doors that are blocking us until we feel dazed. But with perseverance, the powers of strength and faith, and with a “little help from my friends” (to quote the Beatles), we too will be able to be free at last.

Thinking of the bird in Jeannie’s garage and the Beatles, the Beatles’ song “Blackbird,” written by Paul McCartney, comes to mind. Click here to listen. A part of the lyrics go like this:

Blackbird singing in the dead of night,
take these broken wings and learn to fly.
All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Paul said that the tune was inspired by a Bach lute piece often played on guitars. When Paul and George Harrison were teens, they tried to learn this Bach piece.

After he had written the song, Paul played “Blackbird” for his future wife, Linda Eastman, the first time she stayed at his home. In terms of meaning, Paul told interviewers that “bird” also means “girl” in England. When he was in Scotland, Paul started thinking of the civil rights struggles in America – particularly from the point of view of black women. “I was using the symbolism of a blackbird,” he said.

A bird stuck in a garage and a blackbird with a broken wing – and both with the innate desire to fly away home. Both birds are a little dazed, but both finally make it.

I am reminded of a comment made many years ago by Saint Augustine. He said there is a God-shaped hole inside all of us that only God can fill. He also noted, “There is no rest until we rest in thee.”

Many blessings,

Rev. Rick

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