Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Secret of the Heron

It was the last day of summer. It was sunny with a few scattered clouds and little wind. The smells of river-water, sun & mud wafted through the air -- outdoor fresh with a hint of fish. The bugs were cricketing with a buzz, buzz and a cheep, cheep.

We sat on the hard rocks. We began to sketch nature observations into our new journals. Great and silent across the river sat the patient fisher bird. Our heron friend that we often see at this bend in the river stood in the water. Waiting.

We took turns gazing at him through the new pair of binoculars the thirteen year old received for his birthday. We could see the heron's open mouth and the detail of his gray-blue feathers.

I saw splashes and bubbles. There must be fish nearby. I hoped to see the heron make a catch, if only we waited long enough.

There was a bright blue sky. Above the green-leafed trees with their faint yellow-rimmed edges, the jet roared. Its explosive sound interrupted the serenity and quiet beauty of our "secluded" spot. It was then that I also noticed the cars thundering over the cement, metal bridge a half-mile away.

The contrast of the images jarred me. But it didn't jar the heron, or the birds, or the bugs.

The heron stood just as focused on finding a fish for its dinner. The birds chirped just the same. The bugs kept on buzzing away.

They didn't even flinch.

Yet, I was interrupted. I heard the jet. I heard the cars.

The noise reminded me that I belong to a culture of to-do lists, of places to go, and of accomplishments to achieve. But I didn't want to be reminded just yet about the world to which I would soon return. The to-do lists that are never finished were left back on the kitchen counter for a reason!

I longed to package this moment and bring the peace back into my "real" life.

What was the secret of the heron? How could it be undisturbed by all the noise? Was it numb to it? Or was it focused on its calling: its need for dinner tonight?

Then, I realized that the jet was not disturbed by the heron either. It didn't even know the heron was there. But the bird didn't care if it was noticed by the jet. The jet wasn't striving to be noticed by the heron. Each was focused on its own purpose.

The jet sure would look silly wading in the river to catch a fish. Likewise, not even one person on the jet could climb upon the heron to get to their destination.

I must begin to realize that it is just as silly for me to try to pursue someone else's calling as it is for a jet to wade for fish!

My calling is to be here in this moment with my children. I need to climb over the rocks and down to the water's edge far away from my respectable to-do list and into this moment. Oh, I shall need to return to the many listed responsibilities. . . but for this moment I need to collect shells and to throw stones in the river, and simply let God's creation soak deep down into our souls.

No, I am not transforming the world with technology or amazing speeches. I am not making headlines or any kind of monetary contribution to society or even to our small household. But. . . I am making a difference in the lives of these four children. And this is my calling here and now in this short season while they roost here with us.

And that, my friends, is the secret of the heron: Know your calling. Your unflinching, undisturbed calling that keeps you fishing for dinner in the midst of a jet-roaring world.

Have you found your focus, your calling in life?
If so, has it helped you to maintain peace in the midst of chaos?

Linking up with Jen at Finding Heaven today.


  1. I love this -- the creativity, the wisdom, the practical application. I am soaking up these words today and letting God use them to show me where I might be like the jet wading for fish. Or, the heron carrying a load too heavy.

  2. This is fabulous. To know our call for this moment. I may not be transforming the world with grandiose things either, but I am transforming it one little heart at a time and therefore, I do believe this is the highest calling we mothers can have. I'm with ya!

  3. It's moments like these that help place all the other things we do into a proper context. When interspersed with times of solitude and quiet, of family and fun, of nature and discovery; the ongoing scramble to earn a living and keep ahead of moths, rust, and thieves seems like something that can be borne.


Thanks for being part of the conversation...I love hearing from you. Kathleen

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