It seems in my neck of the woods all it does this summer is rain. A friend told me that New Brunswick had the rainiest June on record. Since I live in a town that depends on tourism, the fact that we just about washed away during the month wasn’t good news for the local businesses. Ruth has been watching a Yellow Warbler build her nest, lay her eggs and hatch her chicks for the last few weeks. We have followed their activities with real interest, and Ruth took daily pictures of the young as they matured. We knew from reading up on Warblers that the chicks would fledge within eight or nine days after hatching. With just a day or two remaining, disaster struck. We had torrential rain that weighed down the rose bush and exposed the nest. We didn’t know what to do. We didn’t want to interfere in case we caused the parents to abandon the nest, but we knew the birds had little chance of surviving if things remained the same. Sure enough, when we checked the morning after the rainstorm, the branch was broken and the nest was on the ground. All we could find were a few feathers and a distraught mother warbler sitting in a nearby tree chirping her heart out.
I haven’t been able to mow the lawn or work in the garden because of the nest for the last three weeks (I know it sounds like an excuse) so the grass and weeds got ahead of me. Yesterday, as I was hauling weeds out from around the rose bush I started thinking about the weeds in my own life. There are characteristics and traits that chock out the beauty of a growing Christian life. Anger, indifference and the tendency to see the negative in things keep me from enjoying the grace, as fully as I might, that God has put in the garden of my soul.
As I weeded, the male and female warbler flew from tree to tree calling for the chicks that no longer existed. The female had worked non-stop building a perfectly symmetrical nest that was well hidden and protected from most predators. She stayed on the nest incubating her eggs while the rain beat against the bushes and the wind whipped around her. When the eggs hatched, the proud parents flew to the nest continually feeding the youngsters. Whenever the overcast damp weather turned to rain, the young mother would fly into the nest and sit proudly keeping the chicks warm and safe from the rain. But, all her work, good intentions and care for her young came to nothing that fateful night when a crow, a raccoon, or a cat destroyed her nest.
The mother did nothing wrong, in fact she did her best but things didn’t work out. It’s the same with us; we live our lives to the best of our ability. We play by the rules and yet sometimes the weeds get ahead of us, and the beauty of God’s love and grace is lost. As I write, the warblers are checking out trees in our neighborhood and I’m wondering if maybe they might try nesting again. When you and I are faced with unexpected tragedy, I wonder about the traits and characteristics that we have developed. Do we let the grace of God carry us through or do we let the weeds get in the way. I like those two warblers. They are determined and don’t throw in the towel when everything goes wrong. I know I need a few less weeds in my life and a lot more trust in the assurance and grace of God when things go wrong.