Crows and the Pretty Birds

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”  – Isaiah 30:21

This summer was restless and unsettled. Much of my quiet time with God has been during walks through the neighborhood or on the beach. One particular day stands out.

At some point in the walk, I realized the only birds I heard were crows. That was strange, because ordinarily my course is accompanied by a delightful, satisfying chorus. Before long the obnoxious cawing encircled me. “What happened to the other birds?” I wondered, increasingly annoyed at the piercing cacophony.

Soon, all I could think about was the crows and their piercing tones. This is not how the walk is supposed to go. Were these really the only birds out right now?

Finally, I stopped and listened. Beyond the conspicuous chattering, there were other birds I had missed. The same splendid music that had been there every other day was still present.

Even though the physical route was the same, I realized I had been walking a different path in my head. Unsettled and anxious, I was more attuned to shrieks than songs; primed for distraction from the larger, more aggressive fowl.

Sometimes in life, there are more crows than songbirds. Brash, boisterous voices can muffle the ones we need most to hear. But the presence of crows doesn’t mean the songbirds have flown away.

There are always crows, and there is always the still small voice. It’s a matter of listening. Which will we tune to?

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