The Birds’ Songs

I (Dan) have wanted to write for some time, yet I struggled to find the words. Even now I’m not sure how I will articulate these thoughts, but I will try anyway. It could turn into a stream of consciousness or it could lead to helping me discern direction… I don’t know, but here it goes…

Birds have had a significant role in my faith journey over the past 10 years. At different times they bring to mind various scriptures that remind me to trust, hope, and ‘be still’ in the midst of uncertain events. I think of times when: I sought direction and needed discernment in Kosovo; driving through particularly tense situations in Afghanistan; receiving encouragement while finishing my Master’s at Duke… – to name a few. Anyway…

About two weeks ago, Ceara woke up about around 5am – a bit too early for her to start the day. I sat with her and rocked her for over an hour. She slept. The sun had not yet lit the sky, yet the birds’ songs came through the window loud and clear. I listened and prayed. I thought about the birds singing… They sing because that is what they were created to do. It is part of their being. They sing because it flows out of them. To ask a bird not to sing is like asking a stream not to flow, or asking the wind not to blow.

I thought about their singing. I thought about my heart and my life. At this point in time, what does it mean for me “to sing”? What do I feel springing up from the core of my being that to restrain would be like holding back a stream or stopping the wind? (And as I write, I think that when we attempt to restrain those things it can cause a mess. However, when we harness those things it can provide energy and propulsion – like a mill or a sail or windmill or…)

Two weeks ago at 5.30am I answered the question with “pastor”. I feel called to pastor – to preach, to teach, to lead in worship, to connect the global “Body”, to help to engage peoples’ lives and peoples’ faith, to… well, it could work out in a number of ways.

Since then, Ceara has not had any more 5am wake-up calls, yet I have noticed the birds singing everyday throughout the day. And this stirs within me this call to serve as a pastor.

What does this mean for our future? I do not know. We are exploring some options and potential work opportunities, yet we continue to wait, and wait, and wait…

A friend sent this poem to us the other day and ricochets in my head…


Waiting! Yes, patiently waiting!
Till next steps made plain shall be;
To hear with the inner hearing,
The voice that will call for me.

Waiting! Yes, patiently waiting!
With hope that need not grow dim;
The master is pledged to guide me,
And my eyes are unto Him.

Waiting! Expectantly waiting!
Perhaps it may be today
The master will quickly open
The gate to my future way.

Waiting! Yes, waiting! still waiting!
I know, though I’ve waited long,
That, while He withholds His purpose,
His waiting cannot be wrong.

Waiting! Yes, waiting! still, waiting!
The master will not be late:
He knoweth that I am waiting
For Him to unlatch the gate. “
– by J. Danson Smith

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