Helen J. (Snider) Kircher
"Open wide your mouth, and I will fill it.” Psalm 81:10 NIV
What a wonderful promise God makes to His children. In reading this scripture, I am reminded of an incident that took place at my home one summer. The Barn Swallows had once again managed to build their nest under the eve of the roof of my front porch. They, or some of their relatives, accomplished the very same thing the year before. Once the eggs had been laid I could not, in all good consciousness, do anything other than just scrub the front porch over and over all summer. It was really a mess. Each time I cleaned and scrubbed, I vowed to myself, and to anyone that was within earshot, that this would not happen again. Next summer I would be more alert and at the first sign of their return, which would be a muddy blob with a twig attached, I would put an end to any nest building process!
Sure enough, and right on their schedule, I saw a familiar circling and flying low to their favorite spot under the eve. Realizing it was that season once again, I grabbed my broom and headed for the porch. I knew I had to keep watch and act quickly, or I would be locked in for the duration. This continued for several days. I would knock down their handiwork, and they would quickly retaliate and rebuild. They were determined, and so was I.
Then I made the mistake of leaving town for a few days. When I returned, it was too late. Swallows - 100%, me 0. I decided to make the best of it. At first I checked the nest daily as part of the clean-up procedure, and I counted the days until my guests would be leaving. Then, in spite of myself, I became interested in them as a family. I found myself checking on them more frequently. The parent birds were working very hard. To and fro they flew. I was amazed and surprised that somehow all four of the little ones knew the exact moment that momma or daddy was bringing them something to eat. It was spontaneous combustion. They had waited in expectant anticipation and like little puppets on a string, all four mouths would fly open at the same time. Although they did not know which one would be selected to be fed, each one was doing all that was possible to be the receiver of the gift. From my vantage point within the house, I now resorted to using binoculars, they appeared to be all mouths. As I watched the frantic pace of the parents, I thought, “Oh, if only we would be that focused on God as our provider!”
The little ones grew and grew. How all four managed to stay within the nest was amazing to me. They were actually hanging over the sides, and still the parents continued to work very hard to keep their increasing hunger fed. I began to feel sorry for the parents.
One day a neighbor came by, and I showed him the nest and how large the baby birds had become. He laughed and said, “Why, those birds are old enough to fly!” Making a decision to free the parents and me, he got a ladder and climbed to bird level. He took the first one from the nest and gently tossed it upward. For a second nothing happened. I held my breath, afraid of a crash landing. Then, with great effort, the little one began to flap its wings and began to fly. He traveled a short distance and then returned to one of the bushes near the porch. One by one the process was completed, and again it was swallows 100%. I smiled and so did my neighbor. Quickly, I ran for the water hose and the broom. It was clean up time!
In His Name and for His Glory,
Helen J. (Snider) Kircher