Nest-building

I’m fortunate in being able to work from home after working many years in the corporate world. I have a small office a few steps down the hallway from the bedroom; my window overlooks the backyard which is fringed by woods. So although I’m in a neighborhood, when I look out my window it’s like I’m enveloped only by nature.

Each spring brings some amazingly cool things to my backyard—things that for so many years I’d missed in working in a cubicle environment or that I was simply too busy (translation: tired and self-absorbed) to take notice of.

So it thrills me when I see something like the pair of robins

The robins worked diligently in the rain to build their nest.

that made their nest on the spotlights under the eaves of the garage one rainy day. Despite the soggy weather, they took turns flying off and returning with bits of grass and moss and string, or whatever else they could hook in their beaks, to fashion a tidy and secure nest in anticipation of welcoming a family. After construction, momma robin sat patiently for days atop the nest, waiting with the eggs she had laid.

I’d take coffee breaks just to go outside, cup in hand, and stand in the backyard watching, as if the robin’s big day would be mine too.

Despite good instinct and follow through, the robin’s eggs didn’t hatch. There were no nestlings. No hungry cheep-cheep of babies looking to be fed. No learning to fly. One morning I came out to find the nest empty, the robin gone.

Thank goodness for the shutterbug in me, as I took many pictures of the before/during/after with the robins. Now when I look at those pictures, it reminds me that nest-building—like faith-building—is serious and sometimes disappointing work. We may not always find fulfillment, even though we perform the follow through by instinct.

Whether one searches for life’s meaning through the explanation of science or the unexplainable mystery of faith, one thing’s for certain: our human instinct is much like nature’s. Something inside compels us to move forward, to continue searching, to continue building in anticipation of something…bigger.

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