White cotton makes for a perfect wreath against a black door. It also makes for a perfectly soft nest for baby eggs. Recently, I heard a bird singing so loudly that I assumed it was in our attic. Come to find out, the bird had chosen our cotton wreath to knit together the most intricate grass nest. No eggs had been left, yet, but I feared for her future children getting banged by the opening and closing mechanism, so I disposed of the nest ever so sweetly. Exactly twenty-four hours later, another perfect grass nest was located in the exact same location on our front door. The mama bird was not deterred in the slightest. This time my own baby boy asked if we could please leave it there so that we could see her eggs. I assured him that it was not a fitting location for a nest, regardless of how soft and perfect it might appear. We did marvel at the nest's solidity and strength for a while before setting it down gently in the yard, hoping mama herself didn't come peck at us for destroying another masterpiece. On day three, we were pulling into the driveway, when mama bird flew away from our door. When I saw she had only just begun another home base, I waited while imagining her doing the very same patient game. Soon, I heard her whistling as she worked, and that's when I knocked loudly from the inside letting her know someone else owned this property. I haven't seen any new nests since then, but I still hear mama bird singing nearby.
I am struck at the sheer determination mixed with unvexed nerve. Of course I have no earthly way of knowing whether our flying friend was disappointed or frustrated at losing all her hard work almost three times, but I truly doubt she even batted an eyelash. Her happy tunes confirm my suspicions. It's as if she didn't mind building one more nest. And then again, one more nest. And again, one more. It reminds me of a great movie we saw recently, Hacksaw Ridge. If you don't know the premise, it's based on a true story about an unbelievable man, Desmond Doss, who did not believe in carrying a weapon despite his personal conviction to serve in the military as a medic during World War II. The peak of the climax occurs when Desmond, a strong Christian, continues to ask God for "One more, help me get one more," referring to his return to enemy lines hoping to save a wounded soldier. Even though he was all alone physically, and could have been satisfied with saving simply "one more" person, he repeated this request far longer than a sane person would think his strength would allow. But through the strength of God, he continues to save life after life after life. Instead of asking God to help him save five, ten, or even twenty men, he focused on one at a time. One more life, one more nest.
I have been reminding myself of this the past few weeks. With illness after illness in our family, it feels defeating, especially when Levi loses weight. Fever viruses, ear infections, stomach bugs, common colds, less common shingles, and now half our family on antibiotics for another round of strep throat; I feel like someone has been sick since Roman's birth (cue the violins and pity party entourage). Then I ask God for strength in my humility because I realize mom super powers have their own kryptonite. Our strength comes from Him alone. Despite what your environment is telling you, despite being pushed down again and again, when you know you have something to accomplish, pick yourself up, and keep at it. With God's help, you'll be surprised at what you can endure.
Because of His sweet grace, I was reminded of how much we endured two years ago. I was connected with a young mama in South Carolina going through almost the exact same thing we did with Levi. She is trying to care for her two year-old son as her second little boy born 28 weeks gestation has been living in the NICU almost four months now. She was as much a blessing to me as she said I was to her. There is so much purpose in our hardships.
How can I let some common illnesses discourage me when people are battling terminal cancer around the world? How can I let sickness defeat us when we have such great access to medicine and millions do not? How can I have a pity party when there are so many sick babies without parents to rock or soothe them to sleep?
No, I am not a super hero, but I can simply ask my super Father to help us get through one more illness. Just one more. Don't live in the past or future. Just today, help us heal and fill our hearts with gratitude in the meantime.
Thank you God for one more day to help these boys and build up another strong nest for them; give us strength when we are weak, and praise you in sickness and in health because you love us so well.
~one more Buster