Fred the Sparrow is gone. Just a few days after I wrote my last blog, Fred ceased visiting me. I’ve been looking for him the garden area outside my office window, but to no avail. I’m trying to imagine what might have happened:
He found a mate and is busy with her and the children-to-be.
He finally figured out that the windows led nowhere and he went to find a more interesting way to spend his time.
He got caught by a predator.
He found a steady food source and made his new home nearby.
He got sick with some mysterious bird ailment or was injured in some way and is no longer among us.
He is off doing some birdy thing which I cannot begin to guess at.
Fred’s apparent disappearance reminds me that there is so much in this life that is a mystery, things which happen that have no explanation.
It also reminds me that sometimes we simply have to allow people and other beings to be who they are and live their lives the way they wish. We can perhaps hope that we have had a positive influence in some way or that we planted some seeds that may one day come to fruition. But we do not have any control over that and so must simply hope for the best and move on to whatever is next.
This is an experience I have on a regular basis. As a pastor, I understand my mission is to proclaim the gospel and to place the good news of Jesus in front of people. What they do with that good news is not up to me. I often have wondered if people ever really listen to my proclamation and whether or not the gospel changes their lives in any significant way. And if the gospel DOES take root in the heart of another, I have come to realize that I may never see when it sprouts and grows and bears fruit.
Sometimes I get one chance to be a witness for Christ—one chance to plant a seed of faith or hope or grace. Often this may be at a funeral for a non-churched person and his/her non-churched family; or at a wedding, where there are almost always non-believers present; or in interacting with guests who are using our church building. Again, I may never see any results from my efforts to share and enact the good news of Christ, but then such reward is never guaranteed to any of us. We are simply called to be witnesses.
So I do not know what has become of Fred the sparrow. I can only hope that wherever he is, he is content and safe. And I hope he will remember our visits fondly.