Lucy Mae and I sat on the front stoop and watched the robins maniacally soar through our airspace. My canine friend was far more interested in the process than I; that is, until one earnest flier nearly took off my head.
What’s up with these birds, anyway? I wondered. You’d think it was mating season the way they are swooping and diving around with such show. ‘Bout that time a squirrel leaped by, desperately searching the ground for any fallen nuts or berries.
Ah. Well, yes. It is that time of year again.
The creatures are frantically readying for the coming season of cold…this frenetic activity is the precursor to the inevitable slowing. Whether they need an extra bit of fat to carry them through a long migration or to enable an uninterrupted slumber, this anxious energy I witness is just part of the process.
Soon, the black-eyed juncos will return and our fair-weathered friends will head south.
Everyone except Perry, that is.
This bird has been pecking on my door at all hours of the day for months now. I have tried to scare the blasted thing away by abruptly opening the door while he is in the midst of his percussion manifesto… But he is always one step ahead of me, feeling my heavy footfalls approach the door; he flies into our rhododendron just as my fingers touch the knob.
Little pecking ghost, he is.
But he always comes back.
Peck. Peck. Peck-peck.
I was able to finally spy him by cautiously approaching the dining room bay window that provides a view of our front porch. There he was: sitting boldly on my flower pot offering up a lovely song. The rascal is a purple finch.
So we named him Perry. Perry the purple finch.
When his song was complete, he hopped back down and stared at his reflection in our brass kick plate on the bottom of our door. Then he started pecking at it.
“Why does he do that?” asked Jeffrey, the ever-curious one.
“He sees his reflection and thinks it’s another bird, I think.”
“Why would he peck another bird?”
“Oh, trying to get its attention, I suppose.”
We both agreed that, indeed, Perry was weird.
But he is persistent too.
I’ve decided that the only thing that could inspire such persistence is love.
Perry is in love with himself.
More precisely, he’s in love with the image he sees in the brass kick plate. Puffs up at the reflection of beauty. And he thinks if he keeps pecking at this lovely vision it will finally give him the time of day. He seeks validation in vain, pouring his energies into something that will never respond.
Peck peck peck. Look at me. Peck. Hey! I said, look at me! Peck peck peckity peck.
I’ve seen a lot of Perrys in my day. Even been one.
Blinded so much by desire for self agenda that the efforts of others are belittled or ignored. Instead, I become self-consumed…pecking away at my own image, demanding attention in vain.
And the strange thing is, the longer I am ignored, the harder I seem to peck!
Just like Perry.
Friends, if we are all puffed up about our own ministry, service, charity, etc., etc., we will fail to see there are good things in the efforts of others as well.
We may even judge them harshly.
Now, sometimes those others are just pecking at their own image too, but we do no one a favor if we join in. Then we’re all just pecking in vain.
And no actual ministry gets done. No great commission realized.
Just feather-preening and puffing up.
Christ calls me to die to self.
I have found that I have to do this over and over and over again.
Pride is a terrible foe to be pitted against. He has beaten me many times.
As I sit here and type, Perry is at it again.
Some people–er, birds–just never learn.
I don’t want to be one of them. How ‘bout you?