When Dave and I made the decision to move from Pennsylvania to California I wasn't excited. I wasn't even very nervous. Come to think of it, I didn't feel much at all. When my closest friend came over the night before my flight she cried when we hugged goodbye. I wanted to cry but I just didn't feel it. At the time I chalked this up to my habit of internalizing my emotions. But in hind sight, I'm starting to get a different picture. One that involves Jesus' love and how he just holds me steady in his loving peace through these kinds of processes.
I haven't thought about this at all in the 7 years since we moved. It's been a non-issue, and honestly it still is. Except, something recently caught my attention that forced me to think back to that crazy month of June in 2005 when we were preparing, packing, and praying for the move. Even before that, during the preceding spring while we were trying to sell our house we noticed a robin building her nest in the eaves above our front door. Then she laid eggs and we thought how sweet it was that every day as we sat on our front porch eating lunch there were little baby birds being formed in that nest just above our heads. Then the babies hatched and all hell broke loose. Every single time we went near the porch in general, or the door more specifically, Mama Bird would dive bomb. We could still look out the front window, though, and see the fragile stretching necks of the newly hatched robins.
We felt it was a sign from God, this nest, these babies. But we didn't know what it meant. Even Dave's parents commented about how ironic it was that as we were loading boxes into a moving truck bound for the other side of the country, here was this diligent mama making a home for her babies right here in the home we would soon be leaving. It did mean something. And we'd never forget it.
Fast forward 7 years to the winter of 2011. We were now preparing to leave the home we had lived in longer than any other. As we prayed for a buyer and wondered when we'd have to start packing, B noticed a huge hawk nest in our big old tree in the front yard. This thing was gargantuan. And it was perched snugly at the very top of this huge 30 year old tree among the bare branches. Another nest during a moving season? How strange. I remembered back to our Pennsylvania house and mentioned it to Dave. We were both silent for a minute, lost in the mystery of the moment.
Cut to last week. A very trying week for me emotionally as I prepared to severe ties with Menifee, the city where we've lived for the past 7 years. The same city where B started school, where we made amazing memories with best friends that we lived next door to; a community in which I had established roots. Hard-won roots. After moving, B continued to attend school there, and so I kept going to my gym there as well, effectually postponing the eventual difficult good-byes to friends I see every day. But last week I had to face the fact that B's time at her school (a school we absolutely adore) and my time with my gym friends (if you've never had gym friends, you undoubtedly will not think this is a big deal) was coming swiftly to a close.
At the beginning of that week, already feeling a little weepy during my workout, I walked over to the corner where I keep by bag--the same corner I've kept my bag for the last 4 years. As I was taking a drink from my water bottle and staring out the window--the same window I stare out every time I take a drink from my bottle--a dark spot among the green leaves of the tree just outside the window caught my eye. It was a tiny egg cup-shaped hummingbird nest. With two of the tiniest orange beaks I've ever seen gaping at the opening of the nest as the mother zipped around them. I smiled. And then I laughed out loud! And then I teared up a little. So I shelved the memory to tell Dave later and went back to working out.
As I was on my way home, sitting at a red light at the corner of the gym street and the main street, I saw a huge crow swoop down right in front of the light and alight on a billboard to my left. A billboard advertisement for my gym. You know where this is going, right? The crow hopped around to the opening behind the board, where the billboard on the other side butts up against it, and inside the opening is a nest with baby crows waiting to be fed.
It's all just too much to be a coincidence. I told Dave the story, starting with the gym, then reminding him of the Menifee property, and then the Pennsylvania house. We sat in the coffee shop drive thru waxing spiritual about these Nest Appearances. I wish I could wrap this up for you with a nice little Here's What It All Means bow, but honestly I'm still not sure. I know Jesus is using these nests to show me constancy. I know that Jesus has an awesome sense of humor and he wants me to be in on the joke. I know these nests represent a safe place, a place to hide in times of emotional trouble, but also a place to grow and mature and eventually learn to fly. But there's so much more I wish I knew.