Life Beyond The Basket

She came and made herself cozy in that hanging basket on my back porch. The one I had wanted to take down because the flowers it once held had since withered, and all that was left was this scraggly brown testimony to my lack of a green thumb.

But that crazy dove; she didn’t seem to mind the less-than-lovely surroundings. Week after week, she sat there, nearly immovable. Except for the time off for what I assumed was a quick snack while hubby dove stood guard over the gnarly, makeshift nest.

I thought about how hard it would be to sit motionless as minutes and hours and days flew by. Truth is, I have known that feeling. Maybe you have too. It’s like your spirit is yearning for sky but it is bound to the barren earth. Like your dreams have been grounded by some invisible weight and you’ve been left hanging, stuck in a casket basket in the middle of nowhere.

And, if you’re like me, you get a little fidgety while you’re waiting to get somewhere else. Maybe even a little angry. Until you remember that “to everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

In my season of waiting, as I observed that bird, I reckoned the only thing that could give any creature, or a human for that matter, this kind of patience is to know there’s a purpose. To believe in the promise of something so great that it makes any present discomfort seem worthwhile.

Then it happened…

And for another couple of weeks, my husband and I watched as the basket, now a cradle, swayed in the wind with mommy dove feeding her newborn, helping it to gain strength.

One day, both mommy and daddy dove started flying around the basket as if to demonstrate the a-b-c’s of successful flying. 24 hours later, their baby flapped its wings and took its first tentative flight.

And, finally, it was time to say goodbye to our feathered friends. The basket had served its purpose. The waiting had yielded the desired results.

The time had come to fly.

Lord, help me to be patient. To stay where I am, learn what I’m supposed to learn and let you prepare and strengthen me for life beyond the basket.

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. Hebrews 10:36 NLT

Lessons From Camp

“The greatest use of a life is to spend it on something which will outlast it.” Jim Eliot (Under the Shadow of the Almighty)

I was at an FCA middle school camp this past weekend. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is an organization that is committed to ministering the love and hope of Christ to student athletes and coaches. Three things I was reminded of:

1. People of all ages, young and old, need help, guidance and ongoing encouragement through life.
2. God is able to do big things through even the smallest offerings of willing hearts.
3. Investing in another living soul means that we are making a deposit for eternity.

On the last day as the kids got up to talk about what God had done for them, I thought about the staff and volunteers. I thought about the months of planning and tireless work that had gone into making it possible for those students to have an opportunity to experience a life-changing weekend. And I walked away with an old lesson re-learned:

There are many things people turn to for fulfillment in life. But nothing that we do on a daily basis matters as much as what we do for others.