rev·e·la·tion – noun \ˌre-və-ˈlā-shən\
: a usually secret or surprising fact that is made known
: an act of making something known
: an act of revealing something in usually a surprising way
: something that surprises you
Recently, I’ve been intrigued by birds.
It started when my dad gave me two birdhouse gourds that I drilled and painted and hung as, well, you guessed it: birdhouses. Then, when two house wrens showed up a few days later and started making themselves at home, I became a bird stalker. That might be why I haven’t seen them lately.
But after the house wrens, I started noticing other birds. The red-breasted robins that fly around our backyard and often land in the grass to eat worms. The bright yellow finches that flew along with us across County Road 100 as we drove for dinner out in Lafayette. And the large black crows perched on power lines as I run past the highway department.
Last week, though, I was greatly distressed to see a vivid red cardinal sitting atop the tomato cage in my garden, head down in the plant pecking away. I know there are tomatoes there. I walk around the garden several times a week, pushing back leaves and branches to see the soft green fruit. For months now, I’ve anticipated the juicy ripeness of an Early Girl or Big Boy. I’ve already enjoyed a few firm Sweet 100 Cherry tomatoes. And now, this cardinal threatens the whole thing.
I hopped up from the couch, headed to the window, and began knocking wildly. The cardinal barely noticed, head down determinedly. When I finally got his attention (“his” because the red was so bright), he pulled back his head and flew off as I had hoped. But as he went, I noticed a fat, green tomato worm hanging from his beak.
“He has a worm!” I announced to my husband. “He was helping us, and I scared him away.”
And there it was, a reminder that things are rarely how they appear. Even our deepest realities are shrouded in this mystery: “sometimes God seems to be killing us when actually he’s saving us.” (Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods)
The next day, I couldn’t help but check the tomatoes. None had horrible peck marks as I originally had feared; none had fallen victim to the bright red bird, except for his kindness in snatching the worm. I wait for him to return, though my over-reaction that day will likely keep him away.
But in other ways, I try to see differently, to wait patiently for the revelation of what I cannot even imagine.
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