Last weekend my roommates and I were out of town. Upon arriving home, it was discovered that we had a new roomie – a morning dove that had nested on our porch light. I was still making my way back home when I saw the picture L posted on my Facebook. I took one look and immediately christened her Harrington (although it is traditionally a boy’s name). I felt a connection, even before I saw her in person (birdhood?). I loved that this bird felt safe enough to perch on our light. That of all the lights, by all the condos, she chose ours. The next day, as I was recovering from my family reunion and jet lag madness, I thought some more about Harrington. As I passed by her on the way to the laundry room I felt a desire to help her, protect her. As I considered that, I realized that there was nothing I could actually do to encourage that. My greatest gift to Harrington was to allow her space to live and nest and care for her babies when they come. Anything else would interrupt her birdy ways and interfere with her natural instincts. In fact, most anything I could do, runs the risk of harming her.
It reminded me of the ministry of spiritual direction. When I meet with a directee, I am not there to direct his or her life. Neither am I there to fix their problems. Instead, I am there to offer a space. A space to step back. A space to enter in deeper to this life with God. It is a beautiful thing to witness, but I am still tempted to intervene and problem solve. This experience with Harrington has been a gentle reminder as I begin to meet with directees again. I am invited to participate, but I am not called to be God. What a relief!
I do not know how long Harrington will choose to nest here. It may be days, weeks or months. I am grateful that she is here though and how just by being herself, the Lord is teaching and reminding me of how He loves.
Final thought: by having Harrington here, we have literally “put a bird on it”. How hipster of us.