No one would choose this.
for the past month (with recurring
C. diff., a vile intestinal bug)
a dubious Gift: unwanted,
yet potent as incubation.
And not only pathogenically.
C. diff. is highly contagious. For now, I can’t leave home.
Like embryonic birds trapped inside eggs 24-7, I face confinement.
Waiting in the dark for something to change, the psyche squirms. And, like those chicks, slowly, surely, the soul stretches. And develops.
Emotionally and spiritually, some days there’s not a heck-of-a-lot of light.
How cautiously, then—choice-by-choice—the soul met by grace befriends isolation. Limitation. The ambient darkness.
Good thing I’m not alone.
A process built right into creation
In a landmark 2016 study, ecologists in Australia staked out the nests of superb fairywrens and red-backed fairywrens. Concerned about their predation rates, researchers concealed a microphone beneath each nest. They hoped to record 24-7 avian alarm calls, warning each other of predators.
Later, they replayed the recordings. Parents engaged in lively duets called to their eggs.
And the nestlings, unhatched, called back—from inside their shells!
Learning to sing in the dark
Almost a century before the Australian study, Oswald Chambers wrote about songbirds being taught, over time, to sing in the dark.
Are you in the dark just now in your circumstances, Chambers asked, or in your life with God?
[W]e are put into the shadow of God’s hand, he adds, until we learn to hear Him.
Chops, Riffs & Licks
Songbirds, like humans (and bats), learn to make sounds by imitation. Further Aussie recordings replay fairywren hatchlings mimicking the song of their father.
Tirelessly, the father repeats his signature song. He drills his chicks on introductory notes—even slows them down.
He spaces out phrases, clarifies syllables. Mastery requires a lifetime of practice.
For everything, there is a season: a time to listen. A time to sing.
What time is it in your life?
As for me. I’m learning a lot. I’m calling my voluntary seclusion Laurie’s Backward Sabbatical. I read, work puzzles, color, and enjoy books-on-tape. I’m perfecting Klein’s Killer chicken broth.
I spend more time than usual in silence, listening for God. Sometimes improvised songs arise (It’s been years since this happened!).
Currently on a two-month tapering regimen of a Big Bucks Medication, I am (mostly) grateful for this cloistered season, and completely thankful for your prayers.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Learn to Sing out on a Limb
Learn more here. And here.
Many thanks to Susan Cowger for pointing me toward Oswald Chambers’ thoughts.