I am standing in my kitchen, looking out the glass sliding door staring at the foot of snow that fell yesterday. The snow-covered woodpile next to our house (and under the bird feeder) makes a perfect ski slope for the birds. I'm smiling as I watch a few of them make their way up and down the slope. Do they know they are skiing?
The older we get, the more my husband and I enjoy these creatures...talking to them, caring for them and studying their habits. We've observed that birds seem to eat more when it snows. I feel like I can relate.
The last of the storm is spitting out a few more flakes, but I can't seem to enjoy the snow like I normally do. I feel anxious and worried. Again.
I just received an email letting me know that a concert event I had scheduled for February has been cancelled. It's an unwanted reminder that things still aren't normal in our world and it's been almost a year. It's unusual to have anything scheduled these days so I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was disappointed. Is this what 2021 is going to be like?
I continue staring at the snow. My husband is standing beside me—having just finished his third cup of coffee. He's been outside plowing snow since 7:00 am this morning so that his shop can open for business by 8:00. I really appreciate his dedication to his work and offering another cup of coffee is the least I can do.
I was shoveling snow and feeding the birds while he plowed. I had hot chocolate.
Normally, I'm mesmerized by snow, but this morning my heart is distracted and I seem to be paying more attention to the birds than to the snow. The bright white snowy blanket has provided a beautiful backdrop to the various birds flocking to the feeder on this cold winter day; finches, cardinals, doves, sparrows, juncos, tufted titmouse and the Carolina wren.
"Look at the birds," I suddenly spoke out loud—which seems odd since that's exactly what we were doing.
"They really show up against the snow," I continued.
"Now we can see the markings more distinctly and identify them." As if my husband wouldn't know this.
As quickly as I said it, I remembered a phrase from scripture that I used to meditate on frequently: "Look at the birds. Don't worry about tomorrow. Take no thought for what you will eat or what you will wear."
Ah yes. That's one of the reasons I've loved having birds around. They are a constant reminder that I don't need to worry about the future. Their melodies carried me through the initial challenges when COVID hit and all my events were being cancelled last spring.
But today, I am simply drawn to their presence, not the songs. I take a breath and continue reflecting.
It took a lot of prayer and effort to keep my mind-set positive throughout 2020. I want to keep moving forward, looking for the positives—and there are many...it's just harder to pull them up in this moment.
I suppose like everyone else, I was planning on 2021 bringing a brighter future—a return to normal. The cancellation this morning felt like Déjà vu, which these days threatens to bring a deeper sense of despair. What does this new landscape look like for a self-employed musician and others whose work has been obliterated by the pandemic? I've been innovating like crazy. Sometimes it gets tiring.
So this is one of the ways I'm currently dealing with pandemic-inflicted anxiety and fatigue. I can't change the circumstances it has created, but I CAN work at replacing the worrisome thoughts with the phrase "don't worry about tomorrow....look at the birds."
I pulled out the verse to refresh my heart and mind...
"Look at all the birds—do you think they worry about their existence?
They don't plant or reap or store up food,
yet your heavenly Father provides them each with food.
Aren't you much more valuable to your Father than they?
So, which one of you by worrying could add anything to your life?" Matt. 6:26-27 (TPT)
So here I am again. Looking at the birds and saying to myself..."Don't worry about tomorrow."
If you're feeling a bit worried too, here's a solo piano piece I created called "Bird Song."