Out of the nest
By QuaWanna Bannarbie
Bird families seem to like hanging around the Bannarbie home. This spring we found bird nests in three different areas in the yard. There were likely more that were hidden in inconspicuous places. Some weeks ago, as we watched hungry beaks reach up from these nests, we learned that all of those nests had new inhabitants. Their screeching calls at different times of the day alerted us to their existence and their needs.
A faint chirp outside the window of my boys’ bedroom continued so incessantly that I pulled the blinds to see what was the matter. A young bird was walking around with his mouth open, pacing back and forth underneath the only tree in our front yard. I watched him wander away from the tree to near the road in front of my house.
His mother must not have been far off, because just as he was about to step into the street, an adult bird came out of nowhere and landed in the tree. She sat on a low branch screeching as if to call the young bird away from the place of danger. Her offspring responded to the call and started heading back to the trunk of the tree.
When the young bird got close enough, the adult bird left her perch and landed next to him on the ground. She pecked at him, which made me think he was getting a good scolding for being close to that curb. She didn’t stay near him long; I watched her fly away, and I continued to monitor her young one. He stopped his constant chirping but continued to pace until he found a spot in the grass to settle down. That is when I wondered why the little guy would not fly. Perhaps he could but would not fly, and perhaps that is what Momma Bird was scolding him about. She had put him out of the nest for him to figure out what to do next. No wonder he was chirping. He was frustrated.
Have you ever heard the term “holy discontent”? I am currently reading a book titled “Whose Shoes Are You Wearing” by East African sisters, Christine K. St. Vil and Julian Kiganda. In the book, Christine shares a quote she heard at a conference many years ago. The conference presenter was discussing the topic of employment in a miserable place when he stated, “God will put you in a holy discontent to get you out of places.” I didn’t know that term until I read it in the book. I never would have called it holy, but I can relate to having been in situations (not necessarily matters of employment) that frustrated me so badly that I would do anything to get out of them. I had to make some moves. It has only been in recent years that I have looked over my life and realized that God orchestrated that discontent so that I would not be comfortable staying there. I am so grateful — well, now I am.
But if I am honest, the place of holy discontent does not feel good. And as much as I know God wants the best for me, when I am in that place, I don’t feel loved. It feels unfair. I want to ask God, “Why did you have to go and push me?” We like moving when we get good and ready to do something.
I saw our Heavenly Father as I watched this Momma Bird. Although I wasn’t there when she pushed her little one out of the nest, I understand now that she had not taken her eyes off of him. When he came close to danger, she called after him to get him back on track, and when he needed her reassurance and correction, she gave it to him. But she did not get him into the air.
The young bird is no longer underneath the tree. In fact, by the afternoon, he was not there. That means that he transformed himself pretty quickly and decided that he had better fly.
If only we understood that need to get over holy discontent as quickly, we would be like a bird. We would hurry up and fly. Besides, the view on the ground is nothing compared to the view from the sky.
QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of nonprofit leadership and management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via Twitter @QNikki_Notes.