I was standing in my kitchen yesterday washing dishes and tidying up things. As I wiped down the counter tops, I noticed that there was some old bread in the bread bowl (we use a large bowl instead of a bread box.. quirky, I know…lol!). I was about to toss all of it when I caught myself, almost with a start. I said to myself, “Don’t throw that out! You can use that to feed the birds!”
I didn’t grow up around animals, in part because I was literally allergic to so many different things, but the one animal I distinctly remember the most in my childhood was birds. I can remember my mother taking stale cornbread and slices of bread and tossing it out the back door onto the yard. When I asked her why she was doing this as a child, she’d say, “it’s to feed the birds”. Occasionally, we’d see a bird or two land and then take flight with a morsel of bread in his beak. But for some odd reason, this act of feeding the birds never left me.
My parents weren’t avid bird watchers or anything of the sort. We never owned a bird feeder or grew flowering bushes specifically for hummingbirds. For the most part, we lived our lives almost totally removed from the animal kingdom and completely submerged in our own humanity. That is, until it was time to decide what to do with old bread.
Well yesterday, I decided that it would be for the children to experience feeding the birds so I planned to gather up all the old bread and take the children to feed the pigeons in downtown Greenville tomorrow. I’ve experienced the feeding of the pigeons near Falls Park once before and let me tell you, it’s quite spectacular. If you have a bird phobia, I don’t recommend it because those little guys are bold and a large number of them cluster around those who come bearing goodies.
I couldn’t help but go back to that period of time in my life when I observed my mom setting aside old cornbread and sliced bread to feed the birds. I’m not even sure why she did it or when she started it, but there was something within her that told her it was the right thing to do.
Here I was, decades later, with the same burden on my heart: feed the birds.
First of all, we’re not even from the same species! Why on earth am I concerned about a bird eating or not?
Then I realized that this is how God works.
Just when you think you’re not on someones mind, God is placing you there, as subtle as an “aha” moment. There’s probably some pigeon crying out to God now for his next meal. God heard him and told me to use that old bread to take a trip downtown with my two little children to feed him. Seems like an awful lot of trouble for a great and mighty God to go through for something as lowly as a flock of birds. But that the way He is.
My mama came up in a era that knew all about struggle. They helped their neighbors and friends. Sometimes a sack of flour and can of lard was the difference between life and death by starvation. She knew all about hard times and saw her fair share. So did my dad. And maybe, it’s with that understanding that both took the time to feed the birds. Even if it was just a slice, they didn’t throw it away. Out the backdoor and into the yard it went.
I guess such a gesture would be considered littering today but to my parents, it was there way of remembering the weak and the lowly.
So while we’re standing at Falls Park feeding a feisty flock of pigeons tomorrow, I’ll remember that the Great God of the Universe laid them on my heart and if he can lay a bird on the heart of a human being so that it doesn’t go hungry, surely He can and will lay you and I on someones heart at the right time and take care of us.
Don’t forget to feed the birds.