May 21, 2020

Something caught my eye, a movement to the left side as I was walking the other day. Curious, I stopped and looked. One small sparrow landed on a driveway, quickly followed by another, who seemed to nip at the first. Sparrow number one turned and nipped back then jumped a few feet away. Number two followed, nipping again, like a younger sibling following an elder one, doing everything it could to get attention, to join in the fun. They repeated this several more times. Then finally, a larger sparrow swooped down (I imagined this was a parent), and numbers one and two took flight. 

I was immediately reminded of my two youngest granddaughters, ages 3 and 6, little birds playfully (at least at first) picking at each other. Since the Pandemic began, we’ve been meeting via WhatsApp almost every evening. Sometimes I tell a story about something that happened when I was a child, or their dad was a child. I’ve started making up an ongoing story about two princess and their magic powers. So far those powers are smiling and giggling, capable of melting monsters on the spot. Sometimes they “read” to me. Last night one of them learned to play a Kazoo while I listened. Most evenings, whatever one has, whether a particular book or toy, the other wants. Most often it is the younger who wants what the older has.  

They remind me so much of my sons when they were kids, the younger desperately trying to get the attention, and the possessions, of the elder. Our older pair of grandchildren bore the same genetic trait which is now presenting in the younger pair.

Older apparently is cooler than younger. I can attest to this unfortunate fact as the youngest of three sisters. They are 8 and 10 years older than me, and simply due to the age advantage, they were cooler than me, try as I might to catch up!

I was tickled watching those little sparrows, so much so that their antics became the basis of the story I told that evening, without including princesses with superpowers, because getting along with each other doesn’t require superpowers. It requires using our words, asking for the things we want, sharing, taking turns, telling the truth, being patient, being kind, in essence loving our neighbor as we love ourselves all based on loving God with our whole being.

Children aren’t born knowing how to get along with others, they learn that lesson over and over until it becomes almost second nature. It was cute to see in sparrows, understandable in small children as a process of maturity. 

But what about us? In 1 Cor. 3:1-3, Paul says, “And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations?” Lord, have mercy on us all!

May it be so! ~ Anne

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