How do I connect these two very significant things in my life. They both carry such meaning, such poignancy. I could marvel. I will marvel.
This morning a friend showed me a nest of baby birds tucked up in the wisteria shading her deck. From our vantage point below, the only thing visible were their baby bird heads. At first I couldn’t figure out what I was looking at, because they didn’t look like baby birds. It was strange. Honestly, they were a little ugly. In nature, I’m a fan of the pretty things. I realize some people can study snakes and spiders for hours, blown away by God’s Good Creation, but this part of God’s Good Creation makes no sense to me. Mosquitos seal the deal as far as I’m concerned. Derrida (he promulgated relativism) has nothing on mosquitos. There’s nothing “relative” about them. They’re wrong, and evil, and that’s that. For those versed in the natural world, yes, I realize they feed the bats, but, well, this proves my point, no?
Back to the birds. Not willing to accept that any baby bird could in fact be ugly, I came home, sat in a chair in our back yard, and figured it out. It was their mouths. Their mouths were at such an enormous stretch, maws open like they could suck in the universe, that they, in fact, looked grotesque. It was like staring into goo. Goo with a little bit of spittle mixed in. Stuff that can kill an appetite.
Of course they were waiting for mamabird with the worms. I always assumed when baby chicks open their mouths for food it was a temporary thing. They open them, but then they close them and chirp a little, then open them again, etc. In fact, what I witnessed this morning was just ugly open mouths. Those mouths weren’t gonna close until the food came.
Which brings me to rubber bands.
Rick has an uncanny ability to accept God’s love for him in all of its unique manifestations. For years, when spotting a coin on the ground, he’s been picking them up and whispering some sort of prayer thanks God, I love you too. No kidding. He does that. To be completely honest, I’ve found it a little irritating. Really? Is that God saying he loves you? Coins are all over the place.
About a month ago I needed a rubber band, probably to wrap up a bag of rice or something. Eventually I found one, solitary, in a drawer, and quietly thanked God for helping me find it. No big deal. Later in the day I found another one. Also no big deal. When I don’t need rubber bands they’re all over the house, getting stuck in the vacuum cleaner and in drawers mixed in with pens and coupons. However—and I don't know what got into me—this time I thought, why couldn’t rubber bands be my love language and God could use them to remind me that he loves me? I prayed, in my head if not my heart, so here’s the thing, from now on show me your love with rubber bands. And remembering he was God, I quickly added, of course if you don’t want to, that’s perfectly okay, absolutely, you do whatever you feel is best. Smiley face, smiley face emoticon, praying hands emoticon, big-wide-teeth sweaty face emoticon.
No rubber bands. Zero. Let it go Kate. It was stupid anyway.
That night I went to dinner with my God-loves-me-so-much husband, and we ordered chips and salsa. We were hungry so we went through one basket of chips and ordered another. We finished that basket (very hungry) and then Rick kind of laughed and pointed to a rubber band sitting in the bottom of the basket. I quietly stuck it in my pocket and said Thank’s God, I love you too. Yeah, so there’s that.
At this point some of you are like, no way! That’s so great! Others—maybe more like me—are thinking, yeah, and, so what? But I’m telling you, since then, if I’m praying, asking God for help, peace when my son pulls out of the driveway on his motorcycle, for example, or when I just plain don’t know what to say to someone, more often than not I find a rubber band and I thank God and I tell him I love him back. I know it’s hard to believe, but I decided rubber bands should be my love-language and he said okay, will do.
And those baby birds with their eager baby bird mouths. This is another one of those crazy examples in nature where God, in a physical way, demonstrates something beautiful and profound. Those birds need their food. They need it so bad they aren’t shutting their mouths until they get it.
It’s a beautiful thing. I was “opening my mouth” in search of God’s love sometimes but then sometimes not. I’m starting to learn, geeze, how he really, really, wants me to get it, get his love.
It's awesome. I’m starting to recognize it when I see it.