We’re the silly ones in the grocery store entrance.
This morning, the kids and I. Always the kids and I. I’m unloading green melons and piling them high in a buggy. At this point I’ve completely filled a large buggy, top and bottom. The towers of fruit are likely to come crashing down at any moment. We’re searching for a lost bird. He’s somewhere in the cardboard Watermelon Bin.
“I can hear him, Mama! He’s in there… he’s trapped!”
Audrey’s eyes are almost glistening as she peaks in. Simon, always a leader, swings into action.
“Well, we’ve got to keep unloading these watermelons. Come on Mom, keep going.”
Oh, keep going. Sometimes I wonder if our children are even slightly aware of how ridiculous I look. Customers are glaring, obviously skeptical about the piled-high buggy of melons. They probably think I’m going to take a run for it and start my own stolen-melon-country market.
Nope, just looking for a lost Sparrow, Sir.
Two employees come to see what we’re dong. I explain the situation and they look at me like I’ve absolutely lost my mind. I’ve seen that look before.
The kids notice the employee’s nonchalant attitude towards the trapped creature and I quickly compensate.
“You know, this bird is worth saving. Every creature is special and precious. If we don’t help him, he will probably die. We’ve got to do what we can.”
The two younger kids keep watching as Simon and I dig up more melons. Time passes.
Finally, the little brown bird emerges and flutters to the top of a sill. Then, he turns route and flies right out the sliding door and sails to freedom, right into the blue sky of the bustling parking lot. It was like a little mini-grocery store-miracle.
I throw my hands in the air and yell it loud, “YES!!!” The kids jump and scream and people stare.
Weirdos in the supermarket, I get it. That’s us. And it’s ok.
It’s ok, because at that very moment when God’s creature needed help and my children’s eyes begged me to do something, I had a choice. And in that very moment, I quickly asked myself a familiar little question: “What story do I want to write?”
See, I could choose to engage and create a heart-driven, spontaneous moment, despite how silly I felt. Or I could have chosen to scoff at such “silliness” and walked away, dragging bewildered kids behind me KNOWING my soul was telling me to help that bird.
For many years, I chose to live stressed, rushed, with no time for such nonsense. And I hated myself for it but I just kept doing it. And I have many regrets. But as I’ve grown and pushed into Christ, I’ve realized something – when we walk with Him, we walk a different route. A far better route.
We realize every moment of every day, we have a choice. We choose how we live and we choose how we respond to the little moments God gives us. Our life is an open book and we are scripting the pages. The black ink is being laid, whether we like it or not.
And you know what? We choose how the story of us is written. What the story of our life looks like. Sometimes, we can’t control the things that happen to us or around us, but we have complete authority over how we respond. We can decide who we are and who we become.
We can decide to what and to whom we cling to. We can choose to surrender the moments to His leading and His healing and His whispers of ‘yes, stop here’. Even for the Sparrow.
That’s why I’ve learned to ask that question. “What story do I want to write?”, is the kind of question that applies to the little situations and the big, big decisions. But, I assure you, this one question could change your life. I whisper it to God, and I whisper it to remind myself who I want to become.
In every little opportunity to show God’s love, to embrace a child, to encourage a friend, to change a moment from sad to happy, to lift little eyes to heaven, and yes, to save a silly little bird. Just a spastic bird – but God’s eye is on even that Sparrow. Even that little, feathery one in the bin.
Every moment is a line in the story of our life. I guess that’s why I take this life pretty seriously. We only get one. We need to slow down, look around, and figure out what on earth we’re writing. We ought to constantly be asking ourselves what we want the story of our life to be. What did we live for? What did we stand for? What kind of a person were we? What defined us? Who did we love and how well were we loved?
In every situation, we have the chance to step back, calm our spirits, tune in to eternity, and really, truly ask – what story do I want to tell?
Do I want to tell the story of a rushed and frantic Mama who could never stop to listen, to pray, to read, to draw, to save a bird at 8am in the grocery store?
Who lived the amateur life of a rush-addict and never stopped long enough to realize what was right in front of her muddy flip flops?
No, I want to live an on-purpose life. A well-scripted life. A ‘only by the grace of God’, life. An exciting, deep-rooted, ‘it actually made a difference’ life.
For my Savior. For my husband. For my children. And for anyone else I may have the deep gift of meeting and loving.
As I sit here listening to the breeze in the leaves and watching the grass sway in sunshine, I’m praying through this keyboard… for myself and for you too…
“Lord, give us the clarity to see things as You do.
The wisdom to understand every moment here on earth matters
and every day is written down like a page in our ONE life.
Help us, Father, to live it richly, to live it obediently,
to live it lovingly, and to live it authentically.
Help us be radically aware of what story we are telling with the way we walk this planet.
Thank you for Jesus.
And thank you for Sparrows in Watermelon Bins,
that remind us to pause and let Your mighty hand hold the pen.”