Out on a Limb

Isn’t it funny how a seemingly mundane moment can cause you to really stop and think?

As I was making the bed the other morning, I looked outside at the huge tree in front of our house.  This tree is so big and so close that the previous owners actually built an extension AROUND the tree!  I was feeling excited about spring,  the buds and bright green leaves, and all that comes with it, when I noticed a bird’s nest.  This nest was packed tightly against the trunk of the tree, stable, secure and conventional.  I’m not sure I’d have thought much more about it if I hadn’t also caught sight of a second nest.  This nest was VERY different, teetering out on the top of a very long, thin limb.  It’s the second nest that really caught my attention because my first thought was, “Who in the world builds a nest on the MIDDLE of a branch???  Who would do that???”

Now, I’m sure there are some orinthologists out there who will be able to chime in about different species of birds and their unique needs, but to me, an average girl just making the bed, I was flabbergasted.

Why would one build a big, sloppy house nestled securely against the ancient and stable tree trunk, while another would build out in the middle of it all….quite literally, out on a limb. 

Full confession.  I judged.  Yes, I admit it.  I judged that out-on-the-limb bird. I’m a tree trunk girl.  I’m one who tends to build safe and secure, close to home, without a lot of risk.  This made it so much easier to relate to the tree-trunk mama bird, wanting to keep everything safe and under her control. But that out-on-a limb mama….   didn’t she know that she was putting her babies at greater risk?  Didn’t she know that Alabama springs are ripe with tornados and she can be blown away any afternoon of the week?  Didn’t she know there were NO bushes below to protect her babies if they wandered and squirmed too far?  What was she THINKING????

Oh, but the longer I watched as each mama bird brought string and twigs and grass, the more I realized that limb mama was on to something.  Her nest was just as sturdy, just as secure, and just as cozy.  She also had an amazing view, was in the midst of the green new life of the leaves, and had easier access to the meadow below.  She kinda had it going on!

Being out on a limb may seem a little scarier, but there is also great beauty and independence to be had.

If there was ever a time in our lives when we’re being called out on a limb, now is likely it. We’re facing so many changes, challenges, and confusions. Every day seems to bring developing news and extended time frames. We’re all having to leave our comfort zones, scoot a bit further away from that tree trunk nest of familiarity and out onto the more tenuous branch of faith.

Stretching, straining, inching further out on the limb provides us with a new place to call “home”. We are, quite literally, branching out and learning innovative ways to build new nests, new “normals” while keeping our loved ones close and safe. While most of us would not have chosen to stretch like this, and none of us would have chosen the reason, this can also be a time of great creativity, innovative ways of connecting, and opportunities to slow down and breathe. And just take in the view…..

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