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  • Writer's pictureJo de Blois

Free as a Bird

What makes us free, and what makes us happy? We have the expression, “free as a bird.” I wondered, why is the bird in the Bible an example of freedom? The Bible says: “Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you.” So I considered giving it a try.

A tiny bird comes every morning, and he sits on the rim above the entrance door to my workplace and peeks inside. Today, he came again. He brought his friend, and they were eating a big, juicy worm while staring through my window into the hallway and my office like they were watching a theater show, me being the actor down below. I looked back at them and wondered what they were thinking. Probably something like a poor woman trapped in that office cage. They would be right to think that.

Jesus tells us to look at the birds and learn. And most of these references pertain to stress and anxiety. But why? Birds have anxiety; they are skittish. Parrots can become jealous, and when they are stressed, they pluck their wings. I googled: “Do birds hold grudges?” I was surprised by how many people googled this aside from myself. And yes, unfortunately, birds, especially parrots and seagulls, hold grudges. Another dead end. Then what is this freedom about?

What I learn from the Bible and the birds is not perfection. Birds are no perfect creatures; they are also tainted by the fall. But I think that birds live in reality. Birds decide when and where to fly based on their present moment. In the book of Job, God tells us in the Bible that the bird flies where it wants to, Outside the control of people, and they build their nest when and where they want to. Instead, we human beings live in non-reality. Human beings live in the past, which isn’t real, and the future isn’t real. Let me ask you something:

  1. How many thoughts and negative ruminations did you have today about the past? Your past mistakes, other’s past mistakes? Every time you think about the past, you live in non-reality because the past is gone.

  2. How many worries today were about something of the future? You were living in non-reality. The future is not here yet, and it is not real, and your worry is not real.

Can you imagine your life never ruminating about the negative of the past and you would never be worrying about the future? What if the only thoughts you had were: “right now, I feel good, so life is good.” Or, “Right now, everything around me is okay, so life is okay.” You would ask your fellow bird: where shall we fly to? And you’d fly anywhere you want. And if you see a cat, you just change course. And if you are a grudgy seagull, you just stay away from whatever triggers you to sin.

I think we can live that way. I think we can consciously push the past and future away by reminding ourselves: Jesus wants us to live like a bird: in the present. And when we do, he promises that he cares for me because he knows every bird in the mountain, and the insects in the fields are his. Just like he knows me, and I am his. I can tell you one thing: I will practice living this way because I want to live a real life. Not a life imprisoned by my anxious thoughts.

As you live today, remember. The past isn’t real, and the future isn’t real. They are ghosts in our head, and the present is what is real. And if the present is good, consider your life good, and you safely in the Father’s care. Let’s live our lives freely, like a bird.

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