Lately, as I stroll into my ministry meetings with my helmet clipped to my backpack, I get many stares.
“You…biked here? Today?” As if I just cart around my helmet for fun.
“Yep. I bike in the winter. It’s how I get around,” I respond, nonchalantly. And I usually get a blank stare, as if someone told you they had just walked to the moon.
Yesterday, I was toodling along the road on my bike here in Cambridge, heading to the Journey Church office. My head was spinning with all the things I had to do that afternoon – the people to reach out to, the all-important meetings, the emails to respond to. Somehow no matter what I do, my to-do list never seems to shrink. Today there was something that struck me though: I noticed that all the birds were singing.on’t they know that it is winter? That February in the northeast is absolutely, positively bone-chilling? I’m pretty sure it would be warmer to crawl into a grocery store freezer and stand in front of a full-blast fan than to bear the chilly gusts of the New England winter.
In fact, I bike like a madwoman not to save time but to keep my extremities from freezing and falling off. As icicles form on my nose, my feet spin in circles generating a nugget of heat inside my down jacket. My greatest fear is that my body parts will suddenly stop moving and I will keel over, frozen to my bike, crashing to the ground as a living icicle for the world to laugh at.
In that moment I was so numb I probably wouldn’t even noticed the birds, except that they were positioned strategically on a stark stick tree at a stop sign, their tiny claws clinging to the icy brown branch, singing their little hearts out.
- (photo credit http://3.bp.blogspot.com/)
And in that moment I said, “God, I wish I were a bird like that, that I was just made to sing.”
And I heard Him speak to me clearly in my heart, “You are.”
And that just wrecked me.
I was made to sing. Just like the birds, I was made to sing, to dance, to run barefoot through meadows with hands outstretched and scale big trees to watch the sun’s colors fall. Yet as we grow up, life turns into a never-ending to-do list, with more responsibilities and people to attend to than time in the day. If we’re not careful, we can be consumed with doing instead of being, with completing instead of singing.
Life as a bird seems so much simpler. You just wake up each day, eat a bit of whatever food you find, then perch somewhere and sing to the world. In fact, the birds were one of Jesus’ greatest teachers. In Matthew 6:26, he tells his disciples, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
Now hear me out. I’m not saying we have to neglect our daily responsibilities, or pretend that the realities of life don’t exist. I’m just saying that in the midst of life, we must make time to sing.
What do you do that makes your heart sing?