when all you can do is move horizontally

30 05 2013

Today we had another real life lesson in the middle of our home-school lesson.

Mussa, the garden worker, proudly brought up the little Mr Tenacious (he knows I love all things natural. I did not know the Swahili words to tell him that I do not like all things natural brought out of where they belong!) 

The birds have been very vocal the last week or so and I have been out to see if there are perhaps snakes bothering them. It looks like it is just time for the little fledglings to get flying! This scary yet exhilarating time is happening all around us and Mr Tenacious’s introduction made it a bit more real.

Tris and I first admired the little dude, noticing that he showed no fear but sat bravely as we observed him. (see those very wide and bright bits on the side of his mouth? That is so the parents cannot miss when delivering food. Smart, hey?)  We then dusted him in sand to try and hide the human smell and take him back to where he was found. We put him as high as possible and sat from afar and watched a bit.

We could see the parents nearby, and heard the anxious calling. He fell off the perch, and Tris dusted him in sand again and set him right, in the tree this time.  He moved up about 30 cm. We rejoiced.  

Then he fell down and after trying to climb the tree stem (FYI: tiny birds do not make good climbers!) stayed on the grass.

The parent moved the bird into a little drainage line  (which was empty).

We wondered what would happen next, and here the lessons started.

When a sparrow falls:

The father never leaves the bird alone, but remains around, ever watching.

Even when there is only horizontal crawling about on the floor, and no upward thrust as is expected of birds, there is no judgment or condemnation.

The father constantly brought little pieces of food for the little one.

               * To strengthen the bird for that which has to come.

               * To remind the little one he has not disappeared forever

               * To remind the little one he has not given up on it, but still believes it can fly after several failed attempts

Each morsel of food comes with the literal inspiration, mouth-to-mouth breath of the parent.

The father does not decide that the bird can miraculously fly without the struggle of development. The struggles help to grow the muscles, wisdom and spryness needed for living as a mature bird.

No sparrow can soar on its first attempt out of the nest.

We sat and cheered Mr Tenacious on.  We were watching and willing his survival.

We were very wary, as often overhead we would see the shadow of a very real threat: Yellow billed kites spend a lot of time around here, and although it is small, a baby sparrow would make an easy meal.

wanza to dar June2012 032

We had to move away and get on with chores, but just before dark when I last checked up, Mr Tenacious was sitting on a heap of sand, about a metre up from where he had been before, with about 5 other sparrows flitting nearby.

I was reminded in a tangible way:

“His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me”.  (Matt 10:29 –31)

The LORD watches – Psalm 34:15, Ps 33:18

There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus – Romans 8:1

We are not miraculously parachuted out of troubles, but are left to work through them. (John 16:33, 1 Peter 4:12,  2 Tim 3:12)

Our temporary troubles are building character, hope and wisdom.  (James 1:3, Romans 5:3-5)

God gives us available mouth-to-mouth in His living word (2 Tim 3:16)

Despite present dangers around us, there is a spiritual host cheering us on, encouraging us. (Heb 12:1)

Even when we feel small, vulnerable and far too weak, we are not alone.  Mr Tenacious hung on, looked danger in the eye and knew he WOULD learn to fly.


If you feel like little Mr T today, I pray that you would know that you have a Father who made you to rely on Him.  He longs to fill you up with His strength, to get through whatever challenges you face.

I want to thank The Father for the exquisite backdrop of today’s feature.  This beautiful Bauhinia Monandra  (Pink Orchid tree) looks just gorgeous and is putting on a superb show. 




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