I love standing on the cold, blustery train platform in downtown Washington, D.C., and watching the winter phenomena of gentle, tiny birds looking for perches.
Gazing at the government buildings down the street, I see support wires attached to large rooftop antennas. Sitting on these angled wires are dozens of tiny black (or are they brown?) birds, crammed together in perfectly straight but animated lines.
What delights me, though, is the illusion that there is no more room on those wires, until another group or even a single fellow arrives and needs space. All the little guys scoot closer together, making room for one more. Then they all twitter and wiggle, settle down, and the pattern begins again. There doesn't appear to be one more inch of space, but miraculously, when more mates appear, everyone scoots down the wire or moves closer together, and there is always room.
These tiny fellows have given me such inspiration on cold winter afternoons – to make room in my thought and life for another idea or expression of love, even when I don't think I have any more space on the wire.
A few years ago, far from the arctic winds of my train platform, this lesson of making room for new ideas was brought home vividly to my husband and me when we lived in eastern Africa. There, two children, a brother-sister duo, were in desperate need of a home and a new family.
Our own family was like those birds on the wire – filled up, happy together (we'd raised another set of orphaned children already) – and we'd helped one another through years of lessons as a put-together flock. We didn't think we had room for any more. But this new special duo, with their bright eyes, shining smiles, and quiet joy for life inspired us. Like the brother birds, we scooted over on the wire and made room for these children in our lives and our hearts.
This new duo has brought joy and inspiration in huge amounts to our family. I'm reminded of Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy's statement, "God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 258).
We have not only made room for these new ideas, but we have watched the blessings flow from our trust that God will supply the space and take care of His ideas. Our new son and daughter have won wonderful scholarships resulting in excellent education; they have received honors and recognition in academics and athletics; essay contests and writing experiences have brought in additional awards and prizes; they have confidently and fearlessly run for elected positions at their schools.
Our whole family rejoices at the addition of these two new young people – we have all been blessed. Our home is full of laughter and noise – like the twitterings and callings of those little birds as they move over to make room for, and then chatter about, the arrival of the new guys. Mrs. Eddy's poem "Love" says it best:
Brood o'er us with Thy sheltering wing,
'Neath which our spirits blend
Like brother birds, that soar and sing,
And on the same branch bend.
"Poems," p. 6
As we continue in the new year, we are grateful for God's sheltering of all of us – our family grows with adult children, adolescents, and grandbabies. Our spirits and cultures have blended, and as brother birds we are singing, having made room for everyone.
Enlarge the place of thy tent,
and let them stretch forth the
curtains of thine habitations.