Monday, October 11, 2004

Don't Mess with My Nest

The most profound lessons I’ve learned came from observing nature. Just as there are seasons in a year, there are also seasons in life, each with its own hardships and hopes. Each requiring changes in thoughts and habits.

One year I suffered a “fall” season of life in the middle of April. Just like dead leaves, all my efforts to sell our house fell flat. My life resembled a windup toy that crossed the room, hit a wall, then turned to run into another. For two years I tried to make our house more appealing to perspective buyers, and often cleaned on a moments notice—not an easy thing to do with five children.

One morning, after another unsuccessful home showing, I needed to breathe some fresh air, listen to the voices of nature, and calm my spirit. I sipped a cup of English breakfast tea and rocked in my glider. Daffodils perfumed the breeze, birds sang their mating tunes, and little by little my body relaxed.

A sudden flutter startled me. Two tiny wrens flitted around my barbeque grill. The male disappeared under the grill, rousing my curiosity. Soon he reappeared and they flew off. I went to the grill and looked underneath. The only thing I saw was the tiny air hole to regulate the flame. I went back to the glider and watched.

Soon, they returned and perched in my fern, then hopped on the grill, chirping back and forth. Obviously discussing something important. Days later, I opened the grill to cook supper and saw the beginning of a nest. Ahhh, so that’s what they were up to. House hunting.

The grill was an obvious choice. The tiny opening underneath would protect them from cats and preditor birds. Plus, the cover would keep their nest dry and shelter them from strong winds. It all seemed so perfect. However, there was a problem. Something two little wrens could never understand. But I did, so I scooped out the partial nest and placed it in the fern hoping they would finish it there.

The next day I found the nest in the fern untouched and a new one in the grill. The birds, undaunted, felt secure in their choice. Once again, I scooped out their nest. To be sure this wouldn't be an everyday occurance, I also covered the hole with duct tape.

Mr. and Mrs. Wren were all a-twitter when they came back. Once again something had swept away their home and this time plugged up their door. They flitted and fussed, but finally contented themselves with the nest in the fern. Hidden under the fronds, Momma Wren seemed satisfied even though it wasn’t her first choice. I stole a peek at her and whispered, “If only you knew the danger of your first choice, little one.”

My words reverberated within me. Wasn’t that the source of my current frustration? My nest of hopes was consistently destroyed and the doors of opportunity seemed to be duct taped shut? Maybe we weren't supposed to move. For some reason, unknown to me, it wasn’t the right time to buy and sell.

I decided to follow the example of the wrens. My focus changed from making our home attractive to prospective buyers to making it comfortable for my family. I settled in my nest, contented.

Several months later, our house did sell and we built a new one. When closing for the new house my husband and I were surprised to learn the interest rate had dropped to an all time low. If we had sold our house right after putting it on the market, our interest would have been several points higher.

Coincidence? I don’t think so.