By Susanne Dietze
See the mourning dove in the picture? She (or he; I can't really tell, so I'll just call her a female) comes daily to visit my back patio.
The dove's visits bring to mind the Bible verse, Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself where she may have her young -- a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God. (Psalm 84: 3).
Maybe, like the sparrow near God's altar, the dove has found sanctuary on my patio. It's a safe place, protected, and free from predators. Just like the Bible verse. One wee problem with those verses in this context, however.
I’m pretty sure that from this mourning dove's point of view, I'm her nemesis.
I've thwarted the desires of her heart, you see. She would love nothing more than to build a nest and lay eggs on my ceiling fan, and I keep telling her "no." The moment I see her and her mate perched on the fan blades, I shoo them away and then turn on the fan to prevent them from returning. The doves don't like how I frustrate their plans, so at their next opportunity (the fan has to go off sometime), they swoop back onto the patio, hop on the fan, and before you know it, there are twigs all over the place. I shoo again, and the cycle repeats itself.
I know, I’m mean. A few of my friends have allowed mourning doves to nest on their patios, and they all live happily every after. So why won’t I just let them do what they want?
Well, as you may have guessed, the ceiling fan is directly above a table. And yes, in warm weather, that table gets more use than the one in the kitchen. The doves and their mess would be a bit of an issue.
But more than that, there’s something the doves don’t know.
Nesting here will never be possible.
|Two doves hanging out, perhaps considering me their nemesis.|
I’m not unmoved by their desire to live on my patio, but I I see the big picture, which, despite their admirable persistence and determination, they are unable to comprehend or accept.
Sometimes after shooing them off, I stand at the window and watch them glare at me from our block wall, and I wonder why they just don't find a nice big tree somewhere. They'd have been well on their way to laying eggs by now. They'd have a nice life.
But then I realize how bird-brained I am myself, unable to grasp the big picture as I rail against the “no’s” I've received in my own life. I do not always accept these negative answers from God. I grow downcast when I feel like nothing is going my way, when plans fail, and when friendships break and leave gaping holes in my life like something fell through the ceiling. I feel (even if I'd never say it aloud, but here I am saying it to you) like God is against me, thwarting my wants and plans and dreams.
Perhaps if I spent more time trusting that God sometimes says "no" for my own protection, I’d spend less time fighting for something that is clearly against His will. I'd perhaps understand that He allows some doors to close some because what I want may not be what's best for me or for His kingdom. And other things -- better things -- might be waiting for me elsewhere.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
God’s plans are for our good, our protection, our preservation. And sometimes He has to say “no” to get that mission accomplished.
Here’s to the “no’s.” I’m hoping that my pair of doves finally accept my "no" and live the life they were meant to experience, free of futility and frustration.
Question: The title of "Nemesis Of My Backyard" would probably be awarded to the snails and caterpillars attacking my nectarine tree. Do you have a garden nemesis?
Susanne Dietze has written love stories set in the nineteenth century since she was in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she writes in the hope that her historical romances will encourage and entertain others to the glory of God. Married to a pastor and the mom of two school-age kids, Susanne loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, travel, and spending time with family and friends. Her work has finaled in the 2010 Genesis Contest, the 2009 Gotcha! Contest, and the Touched By Love Contest, 2008 and 2009. You can visit her on her personal blog, Tea and a Good Book, http://www.susannedietze.blogspot.com/