"Walk softly, and carry a big stick."
"Pull up your big girl panties and deal with it."
"Get over it."
"Put up, or hush up."
"Only one person can feel sorry for you at any given time. Since you are already feeling sorry for yourself, you've reached your limit."
I live by each of those phrases, to some degree or another. I've either coined or repeated each one...often. Most times, I don't really mean it. Sometimes, I do mean it. Fiercely. I've been through just enough myself, that trials of the generic, every day-ish variety don't move me to fits of tears or spasms of compassion for anyone - least of all myself. Some say I have a prophetic edge to my personality, others think I am just missing a critical component of an otherwise thoroughly feminine DNA. Neither opinion frightens or flatters me. Things are what they are. And there I go again...being all pithy and Spartan.
Lately, however, I've been gripped by another phrase, timeless and alive:
" Yea, even the sparrow hath found an house...even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. Ps. 84:3"
I'm a bird watcher. Not of consuming proportions, but I do spend a fair amount of time observing fowl in my own back yard. If there is a more relaxing way of passing an early morning or evening, I don't know what it is.
The sparrows who visit me are shy. Reticent. They are easily bullied from any and every feeder. By any and every sort of bird. A sparrow can be having dinner with his lady love, at a decorative feeder (read: "nice restaurant. great ambiance.") brimming with seed, and if a cardinal ambles up to the table, the sparrows take their leave without the first fuss. Every time, those sparrows will either fly away, or move to the ground, and commence to pecking up stray seed, embedded in dirt and grass.
My sparrows will not assert themselves. They won't join the other birds. They won't fight for their share of the bird seed. Without fail, my sparrows will place themselves on the outskirts of the action.
I love how the Lord made the observation, "Even the sparrow has found a home...". God didn't lead us to marvel that the friendly titmouse has found a nest. Or that the loudly talented mockingbird finally has a resting place. Or that the obnoxious grackle can finally land. We are led to feel gladness that the quiet little sparrow has found a home! And not just any home - even the very presence of the Lord. A sparrow is warmly welcomed, and given full access, smack dab between the wings of the cherubim.
How much MORE are we invited to partake of the presence and mercy of our God? Is it any coincidence that many hundreds of years after Psalms 84:3 was sung, the God-man Jesus Christ came and walked this earth, seeking and saving little guys in trees? Loving those on the outskirts? It it any coincidence that a sparrow was the acceptable temple offering of the poor and needy? It is any coincidence that Jesus said, "Fear ye not, therefore....you are of more value than many sparrows."
If I were to take a bird personality test, I'd probably be classified as a robin. Why, I'm not sure. But I know some people who would test out as "sparrows". And I try to be careful to seek them out, to approach them softly, and draw them out in conversation. I don't feel sorry for them, any more than they should feel sorry for themselves; but I do acknowlege and celebrate the differences of gifting and personality.
I love watching the sparrows, both the human-sparrows, and the bird-sparrows. Both have a beautifully unique song. Both are valuable to the Father. If I claim to have a heart like His, I'll find a soft spot there for those on the outskirts of our church-feeder. I certainly don't want to purposely hurt or offend or exclude one who makes her home between angel's wings.