One very great benefit of keeping journals is that re-reading them can not only take you back in time, but offer new insight with the benefit of hindsight. So, perusing the writing of over 14 years ago, I came across this little incident.
It had been a tumultuous weekend. At my parents’ home, I’d seen our old 1969 church directory that labeled each family photo by its patriarchal name only (for example, the J. Van Smith family). In those archives, women and children were not named, effectively rendering them insignificant. Just being reminded of these attitudes stirred up a smoldering ire.
It was a time when men, as breadwinners and heads of their household, could unilaterally make decisions that impacted the whole family. The needs and wants and views of wives and children were seldom solicited or taken into account.
By Monday afternoon, after I’d come home from work, the anger had somewhat subsided. When I looked out onto the front porch, there were two doves sitting contentedly, just looking out together. And I was comforted by that scene. Perhaps we could craft a peaceful way of being together, too, if we followed them as our inspiration.
At times the animals around us can soothe us. Our family dog, Kayla, would scurry away to her corner, an old unused shower cubicle in the back hall bathroom, if voices were argumentatively raised. So that we would laugh instead, her barometer an indicator of stormy weather so that we could take shelter.
In the picture of a tiny bird battling heroically as storm winds threw her little body in different directions, I saw a metaphor for the tumult I was experiencing in making life-changing choices, tossed by inner gusts that threatened loss of control. All of us, animal or human, are trying to be survivors as we make our way in a sometimes tempestuous world.
Through trial and tragedy, for every creature God expresses care and concern. Nothing escapes His notice, even the smallest of sparrows. Psalm 145 reassures us that we have a compassionate God,
The Lord is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made.
The Lord upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand and satisfy the desires
of every living thing.
In season and out of season, living and dying, all of us from the tiniest of creatures to the giant behomoths of the sea are held in the hands of our loving God, the Creator who shaped us all.
None of us is ever insignificant or invisible to Him, because He is the God who sees.