Saturday, October 18, 2014

Mockingbird



I can remember the day I first became fascinated with mockingbirds. I’d seen them around my house in South Carolina for over a decade. I’d just never paid much attention to them because, honestly, they’re kind of plain. I love bird-watching; I learned to appreciate the beauty of birds from my mother-in-law. There was simply nothing intriguing to me about mockingbirds—they aren’t brilliantly colored and they have no interesting markings. 

The problem was that I was too busy looking at birds and hadn’t taken the time to really listen to them.

In the summer of 2013, I was enjoying a beautiful evening in Pennsylvania, sitting on the front porch at my in-law’s house, when my focus changed. It was almost dusk and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. I was sitting there with my son, Ian, chatting about our day and how great the vacation had been. Out of the blue, he told me that he thought the mockingbird must have at least 20 songs that it could sing, because he was pretty sure he hadn’t heard one repeated yet. I really hadn’t been paying attention (there are always bird songs to be heard from that porch!), so I listened closely and, sure enough, I could hear the same bird singing one song after another. I must have heard at least 15 unique tunes; I was struck by this unusual talent, and began wondering:

Why does the mockingbird sing the songs of other birds?
How many songs does it know?
Why does it sing those songs—how does it pick a song to learn? 
Does the mockingbird even have its own song? 

As these thoughts unraveled in my head, I heard the Holy Spirit gently tell me that I was just like the mockingbird.  I have as many “roles” in my life as the mockingbird has songs.  I am a wife to Dave; mother to Scott, Ian, and Katie; daughter to JoAnn and Dave; daughter-in-law to Don and JoAnn; sister to Barb, Jim, and Linda; friend; church member; Bible study leader; nurse; co-worker; neighbor. 

Am I the same person in each of these roles?  
How does my “song” change with each role?
Are these roles that I chose, or ones that were assigned to me?
Are any of them the real me? 
Have I even found the real me?

Since that day, the mockingbird questions have been relentless and undeniable; repeatedly bubbling to the surface of my thoughts and prayers. I know I must try to answer them; it's the only way I will learn the song I was born to sing.

And, singing is very important to me. I've been singing for church and special events since I was a child. I love music and I love to sing. I love the flow of music and the harmony. I love the perfect blend of lyric and melody. 

When I began singing as a child, my Mom selected my songs. She appreciated good music and taught me that same appreciation. Naturally, her choices reflected her taste.  I grew up regularly attending church and learned the favorite hymns of my church family--adding more music to my life. In High School, I took vocal lessons and expanded my musical repertoire. These songs reflected the taste of my very serious Yugoslavian Choral Director. 

Eventually, I reached the point of making my own musical selections. Still, I chose my music carefully--always mindful of my audience and what they would find worshipful or appropriate.

But, on my own--in my car, on my iPod--that's where I express my true musical identity. I sing along with the radio and "dance" in the seat of my car.  I move to the music while I'm cleaning the house or ironing. Sometimes I wonder how I ever managed NOT to learn to dance!

I need music that "moves" me in other ways, too. Music that can reach right into my soul and find the me that is hiding there.  I know it touches me more than any sermon ever has.  Perhaps that is why God is using the mockingbirds to teach me about Him, and who He has called me to be.  

You see, I have a song to sing, and I can't allow it to lie dormant. I need to share it. I need to sing God's song.

6 comments:

  1. I love this! I can't wait to see what other songs are lying dormant waiting to be released!

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  2. Thank you Wendy! Your encouragement means the world to me!

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  3. Beautiful. Reminds me of Walt Whitman's poem, "I Hear America Singing." Everyone singing the sing they were made to sing.

    I Hear America Singing.

    I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
    Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe
    and strong,
    The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
    The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off
    work,
    The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deck-
    hand singing on the steamboat deck,
    The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing
    as he stands,
    The woodcutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morn-
    ing, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
    The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work,
    or of the girl sewing or washing,
    Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
    The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young
    fellows, robust, friendly,
    Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

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  4. I loved this, Sandi! Can't wait to read more :)

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