For the past number of weeks, almost every afternoon around the same time of day a blue jay has been visiting my back yard. The other day, as I spotted it, I was thinking about how each day, faithfully, around the same time, like clockwork, this bird visits my back yard. Its behavior and routine is kind of curious and amusing. And, some days it brings a companion, another blue jay, with it.
Now, how do I know all of this? Well, I guess, I also am a creature of habit. Around the same time this blue jay visits my back yard each afternoon, I am looking out the window that is over the kitchen sink as I wash my children’s lunch and snack containers.
While I can guess how long I’ve been washing lunch and snack containers, I’m not sure how long this blue jay has been coming around my yard. However, since first noticing its daily presence, I have come to see other things about it too. The coloring and pattern across its body is beautiful. Sometimes it flies from branch to branch or to different parts of the swing set (even hopping up the ladder), and sometimes it hops around the lawn pecking and “hunting.”
It’s interesting how things can become a habit, or second nature, without any intention for them to be so. Sometimes tendencies or personality traits, such as “favorite spots for birds to watch” or “clean as you go along” approaches can be a good thing. Other times they can create a blind spot(s) perhaps causing one to be on a kind of auto-pilot (zoned in on a particular thing to the exclusion of other things). They can cause one to move through the day, or parts of it, with limited openness to a change of course or location. In other words, they can cause me to become stubborn or fixed, or to get stuck in a rut without me even realizing it.
Sometimes I need to pause and ask myself, am I open to being re-directed to something that might be of greater importance as I go about my day? Or, what is it that gets in the way or causes me to be closed off to insight, awareness, or a different view as I go along?
At times, the things that we like to do, or that we started out liking to do, can feel like an obligation. Similarly responsibilities that we may have come to embrace with a sense peace or joy can again, at times, feel like a chore or even a burden. Oftentimes that feeling can be a blessing, leading one to pause and ask, “What am I really doing here?”, “What am I looking for?” or “Why am I doing this?” Then I remember, “There is need of only one thing.” (Luke 10:42).
Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”
– Luke 10:38-42