I am sidelined this week, and possibly the next, ugh, hopefully not beyond, from my morning walk. I am not happy about this. I’ve got a bad case of self-righteous self pity over this. Just what, I wonder, does the God of the universe intend by taking away the one little thing I have that permits me the fiction, the pretense, that this broken carapace of a body I lug around has any purpose?
When I tire of railing at God, I’ve been going outside to sulk. And to watch spring unfold. Yesterday, I took a heel of bread with me in hopes of making friends with the birds that are holding morning conventions on the west side of our property. There are at least a few varieties of sparrows. Finches flashing yellow-green as they flit from branch to branch. Crows overhead, already invested in the serious business of heading off hawks from raiding their nestlings. The raucous calls of the scrub jays. Hummingbirds zigging and zooming about. And the drab little towhees with their dull brownish-green cast, blending in perfectly with the large swaths of drought-colored dirt where lawn used to be.
I tore off some bits of bread and sailed them across the deck, one by one, to attract my avian audience. “Bread, guys! The good stuff – come and get it!”
No takers. Not one. Everything went strangely quiet except for a hummingbird, too busy zinging around the wisteria blossoms to even notice me.
One crow swooped onto a branch of the jacaranda tree to watch but would come no closer.
“Hey! I’ve got bread for you! How can you pass this up?”
I began to feel just the slightest bit impatient with these bird brains. I’ve brought them this terrific gift and they can’t be bothered? All the time they spend miserably grubbing about for sustenance and I offer them sweet, sweet bread and they hang back? Maybe they just think it’s too good to be true. A gift this wonderful for free?
Well, then. I am pretty thick, but the metaphor finally hit home. It is Holy Week, after all. A gift has been offered. The bread of life, no less. Do we peer at it from far off? Do we hide in the shadows? Are we too distracted by a sip of nectar to notice it? (In my case, I can say yes to all of the above at one point or another…)
And then, finally, one of those bold, brave scrub jays comes sailing onto the deck and swaggers over to inspect the bread. He takes a piece in his beak and flies off, then returns a minute later and takes more, somehow stuffing three chunks of bread in his beak before swooping away. A few minutes later one of the towhees cautiously hops onto the deck. Careful, but calm, it steadily approaches and takes a nibble of bread, and then another.
The gift has been offered. I know, it seems too good to be true. But it is true! Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, and what better time to come out of the shadows? Boldly or cautiously, it is the perfect day to accept the good news, the bread of eternal life.
“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.
Whoever comes to me will never go hungry,
and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
— John 6:35