by OCMGA Master Gardener Tammy Borden
It had been more than two weeks since the bluebirds hatched. The pale blue eggs that once held them seemed so tiny and impossible to produce the little fuzz balls of life that were now ready to go out into the big world. For many days the parents were lovingly caring for them, bringing them food, and keeping them warm on chilly nights. But now the time had come for them to leave the next. I was outside working in the garden when I noticed two babies fly from the box. I stood watching, thinking the third one would be close behind. But the daylight soon faded into night and the little bluebird still sat inside his box. I saw him again the next morning, peeking his head out of the hole. He’d come almost all the way out, to where I thought he’d just fall. He’d quickly go back inside, only to peek out again a few minutes later.
If only that little bird knew how wonderful the world was outside his little box. If only he knew the freedom that awaits him. He could touch the sky with his little blue wings and catch tasty bugs, and let the summer sun glisten off it’s newly formed feathers. But he seemed to be more content staying inside the little box. After all, it was familiar and safe. Besides, it wasn’t so bad inside the box, he thought. The world of the unknown just seemed so big and scary. Although, the urge to fly was becoming overwhelming.
The little bluebird stayed snuggly in his little box for another night. The next morning mama and papa bird once again tried to coax the little bluebird out of his box. “I’m content to stay in this box!” said little bluebird. “Although, I am getting hungry. Mama has hardly given me any food at all” Still, the little bluebird remained in his box another day, only peering out on occasion to see the big world outside.
The little bluebird began to get restless. It was getting lonely inside the box. He once again peered out the hole and noticed his brother and sister sitting in a tree. They flew from one branch to another, chirping happily. There were other birds too; ones that didn’t look at all like mama and papa. Some of them were big and scary and some were very pretty. But mama and papa were still there to show them where to go and how to avoid danger. Just then papa flew in the air and caught a big bug and fed it to his sister.
The urge to leave his box suddenly became overwhelming. The box which once seemed so comfortable suddenly seemed more like a prison than a sanctuary. “What kind of life will I have if I stay inside this box? It looks like real life is waiting out there” thought the little bluebird. But the little bluebird knew that once he left the box he could never return. “What if I don’t like it out there? What ifit’s not safe?” said the little bluebird. His papa noticed the little bluebird and flew near the box. “Little bluebird,” he chirped. “Of course it’s not safe.” The little bluebird seemed startled. He wanted words of comfort and encouragement. But his papa continued, “It’s not safe…but it’s good. You were created to soar. Yes, the box is safe and familiar, but abundant life cannot be found inside the box. Spread your wings and fly into the unpredictable, yet beautiful adventure called life.”
At that the little bluebird perched on the edge of his hole. Looking back he said, “So long box. You can’t hold me any longer. It’s time for me to fly.” He leaned forward and jumped. For a moment fear gripped his little heart and he began to flap his tiny wings frantically. “What have I done,” he thought. “I knew I should have stayed in my box!” Just then he felt a soft breeze gently lift him upward. His tiny wings beat in rhythm with the wind, and he began to fly. “I’m flying! I’m Flying!” He chirped to his mama and papa. They smiled in delight as he perched on a nearby branch where they flew to meet him. “I didn’t think I could fly, papa, but the wind helped me!” said little bluebird. “To think I was willing to stay in that little box all alone when I could have chosen to be free. But I thought I would be safer there.” “Yes,” said papa. “Sometimes we just need to jump and trust that we will be carried from there.”
Like the bluebird, each of us has areas of our lives where we are afraid to step outside our comfort zone. What is your box? To step outside might mean being vulnerable and exposed, yet true freedom and a life filled with delight cannot be found in safety. Be willing to leave your box and trust that you’ll be carried from there as you remember the words reminiscent of C.S. Lewis … “Safe? Of course it isn’t safe…but it’s good.