Finding hope under wing

by +CrystalThieringer    @cdthieringer

I’ve watched them before, the owls on the cam.

Technology and a generous family have given me a view of something wondrous–great horned owls nesting on a balcony’s planter box. The camera was installed before the owls came (they’ve been here before).  As a general principal, the homeowners don’t interfere, and I respect that. People have moved into owl territory, and the owls have adapted to the people.

In a changing world, they have chosen to co-exist.

The mama is a stunning creature. Her coloration would easily camouflage her on the tree outside my window–but she picked an Oklahoma planter instead. She laid two eggs, neither viable.

Dreams die hard, I remember.

Undaunted, she laid two more eggs, sat on them through snow and rain and sunny day while her faithful mate brought night-time gifts of rodent and rabbit. Trust me when I say, he provides well.

Early last month the first owlet hatched. It took five long days before the second did. I was afraid he wasn’t going to. Beside his sibling he appeared so frail. What a difference a week makes. I watched late into several nights as the owlets were fed, and checked on them before coffee most mornings.

“He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge”.

It’s been a long time since I have thought of those words from the Psalms. I don’t know, again, if this is how God speaks to people, but this tangible nudge to my subconscious brings comfort.

2017 has been defined by waiting for news about someone important to me. It’s come in words that have more syllables than supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Diagnoses like that are seldom promising.

Waiting and watching the two little owlets change and grow at their rapid rate, I can’t help but think the difference between their ages is a stark and visible reminder of how quickly life stretches and changes us from one day to the next. They will be teenagers in a month, out on their own in two.

Time passes ever so quickly. It feels that way as I ponder my human existence too.

This week, I logged on to discover the owl family had made room for another. The homeowners, in an unusual move, they have agreed to help a wildlife rescue organization they work with, and introduce a foster owlet.

The owl family has adopted.

So far at least, the owls have accepted the littlest. Mama owl has nuzzled and cuddled and fed the new addition, and the older owlets are accepting him as well. I peeked in on the owlcam last night, and while Mama was out rounding up more rabbit for dinner, the three owlets were huddled up together, the youngest supported by and squished in between the older two.

He’s half as tall as they are, and it’s easy to imagine they’ll protect him no matter what. It doesn’t always work out that way, of course–but that’s what siblings are supposed to do, at least.

The news of my supercalifragilisticespialidocious loved one has been difficult to hear. We don’t know what to expect next. Medicine-by-internet is disheartening. It’s all best guesses and conjecture until the specialists have their say–and even then, is it ever really up to them?

Our friends though, they’ve been brilliant. Every day, almost, one of my chosen family have sent a message to say, “how are you doing?” I’ve learned they really want to know. I’m learning to reach out and tell them.

The eldest owlet did some wingercize last night, practiced stretching out his new feathers–and settled them over the littlest. Often we equate “under his wings” to mean that God cares for us like a parent would. For many people, that’s not a positive association.

For the first time in my life, it occured to me how I may have (once again) limited God in that definition. Is it possible finding refuge under His wings also means being provided with those who can help carry the burden? When we are surrounded with support and love regardless of what we face, can hope be found there too?

I believe so. A friend of mine refers to it as  “God with skin on.”  Maybe there are feathers, too.


15 thoughts on “Finding hope under wing

  1. What stunning images to accompany your thoughtful and insightful words. I am glad you have friends who care, and even more grateful you are letting us support you as best we can. Even the burden of a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious diagnosis can be made lighter by extra wings.

    1. thanks, friend. Yes, indeed it can be. The images are all screen grabs, believe it or not.

  2. I do love this. I’ll keep watching the owlets with my little girl and think differently about them. And thinking about you a lot, too. Thank you for the perspective, friend.

    1. Don’t they just make you smile, and smile and smile some more? The video you sent of her being introduced to them brought me SO much joy!

  3. Crystal,
    Such beautiful and honest reflections…comparisons. Your post definitely showed you’ve wingersized a little bit yourself!
    Love you!

    1. Thanks, Amy. Maybe I have. I think, though, I have much more wingercizing to do.

  4. Lovely Crystal. Thank you for your tenderness. I love the beautiful way you can tell a story that touches something deep inside. Much love and prayers for you during this difficult time.

  5. Crystal,
    So sorry you are going through this difficult time of waiting and hoping, and waiting some more. I will pray that you get good news, encouraging news, and that God will continue to hold you up. With the care of others, with whispers of hope from himself, and even with the joy of watching some of his creation, perfect reminders that he cares about all of his creation. All. Love you, my friend.

  6. Oh I forgot to mention I loved picturing what your eyes get to see. A national geographic special on owls, up close and personal. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

  7. This is exquisite. I felt like I was up close, and peeking right into the nest with you. The way you bring in your own life challenges, and then tie it all up with the Psalm, and your fresh insight, is simply beautiful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *