Beep, beep, beep, beep! Bee-wop! Bee-wop! Bee-wop! Bee-wop! Cheep, cheep cheep, cheepcheepcheep!
That is the sound of a 3-ounce, fluffy black bird who has been sitting on the roof outside my window mimicking car alarms for an hour starting at 5:30 a.m. every morning since the end of April.
I’m writing this in June.
I have tried everything to get that bird to be quiet. I have tapped on the window. I yelled, “Shoo!” I opened and slammed the screen, shook the glass — but no, this bird refuses to give it a rest. I know it’s trivial, but after five weeks of a bird as an alarm clock, I think I can appropriately use the hashtag #thestruggleisreal. I was ready to relocate that bird myself. (Ask any new parent and I’m sure they’ll tell you sleep deprivation is a serious matter.)
Finally, I went where I should’ve gone weeks ago. Half-asleep, on my knees, I addressed Mr. Fix-It, “Dear Lord, It’s 5:45 a.m. I’m here, tired, and desperate. You know your bird. You made it very well. It works perfectly fine, and it’s very loud. But right now, I’m asking you to please take it away so I don’t get rid of it myself. I don’t want to complain. I’m sure it’s here for a reason, but could you please help me figure out what that is so I can get some rest? Thank you, Amen.”
The bird keeps chirping, 45 minutes to go and right on track. I think it was halfway through the back-up beeping noises that I lay back down and started thinking about the bird. Such a small animal, such a loud noise. And not only does it chirp, it mimics it’s environment, which happens to be mostly car noises.
And then I started learning (finally). I started to ask myself if I am or can I be more like that bird? Every morning, regardless of anyone else’s schedule, that bird is up and making noise. It won’t be bothered by some pesky lady trying to shoo it off her roof. That bird has something to say!
As soon as I wake up each morning, am I ready to share the message of Christ? Perhaps I tiptoe around my co-workers or friends so I don’t offend anyone’s viewpoint.
Also, is my voice is a product of my environment? Do I persistently replicate the message of Christ’s love to the world around me, not caring a bit if it bothers anyone or if I am upsetting someone else?
Maybe I’m just repeating “car alarms,” passing along tidbits about social media or news or whatever is the highlight of the day or the newest gossip, trying to blend in.
Lastly, what effect does my voice have on others? Some of those sleep-deprived mornings I complained from the minute I dragged myself out of bed. I agonized to my family about being tired. I complained about my feathered friend to co-workers and shared other non-productive, whiny comments that really didn’t add to anyone’s day. How much better of an influence could I have been if I started off with a positive message, cheerful, upbeat, and hopeful?
The next Sunday, a brother preached about the prison-bursting, chain-breaking ministry of Alma and Amulek. Alma 8:31-32:
“And they had power given unto them, insomuch that they could not be confined in dungeons; neither was it possible that any man could slay them; nevertheless they did not exercise their power until they were bound in bands and cast into prison. Now, this was done that the Lord might show forth his power in them.
And it came to pass that they went forth and began to preach and to prophesy unto the people, according to the spirit and power which the Lord had given them.”
Alma and Amulek were like that bird outside my window; nothing could keep them down because they had a job to fulfill. If I am to be that city on a hill that cannot be hid, then I have to be persistent and confident, trusting that God will give me a good Spirit and a message at any time. I want to be an Abinadi, an Abish, a Brother Joe Lovalvo, or a Sister Joanne Bilardo.
OK, Lord. I understand. I need to be more 5:30 a.m. early bird and less Erin.
And, wouldn’t you know, I haven’t heard that early bird since.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.