Last week, when I was doing a residency week at Nashotah for my next course, some friends of mine and I were invited to share supper with a resident and her husband. When I walked in, I immediately heard the phone ring several times and wondered why no one attempted to answer it. As I walked through the living room, I saw a gigantic cage and realized why no one was answering that crazy ringing phone.
The phone was a bird.
A big, grey, African parrot named Chad.
And Chad was trying to get our attention by perfectly imitating a ringing telephone.
And like kids in a candy store, we hovered around the cage and “Ooohed” and “Ahhhed” at this beautiful bird.
Chad loved the attention by dancing and flirting and showing us that he could eat cornbread and blow raspberries at the same time. Once he realized we weren’t going to harm our hosts and were going to hang out for a while, he went through his repertoire of sounds and eventually lapsed into preening himself for his nightly rest.
Until we went into the dining room to eat our wonderful supper. And Chad chirped and crooned and buzzed and meowed and zurbured as loud as possible to get our attention. He couldn’t see us anymore and was concerned we’d left him alone. He could still hear us sharing the meal together, but he couldn’t see us. He was doing all he could to get our attention.
“Come back to me! Where are you? You left me alone! Where are you? Come back to me!”
I imagine this is what God does to us when we get busy or distracted or preoccupied or stressed or lazy or …. I imagine God is much like Chad doing all He can to get our attention focused back on Him. He sends us love through a precious friend. He shows us grace through the hug and laughter of a child. He reveals His power through the changing of the seasons.
There are so many ways that God makes Himself known to us throughout the days. There are some days when I am so in tune with His presence, and there are also some days when I am so busy and distracted that I wouldn’t recognize His attention on me even if He were a parrot that landed on the top of my head!
Thank you, dear Lord, that your eyes never leave me and your hand never moves from me! Forgive me when I forget and forgive me when I fail. And thank you for using a beautiful African grey parrot for illustrating your relentless, never-ending love!