Have you seen the new exhibit at the Pitkin County Library? It’s not fiction. It’s not rare books. It’s not teen fantasy. It’s a family of great horned owls perched high in a pine tree outside the library. A hand-made sign marks the best viewing spot and even offers the librarians’ help in finding the owls!
For the past week or so my husband, Richard, and I have been going out after dinner to see what’s going on with the owl family. From time to time we see the large, handsome male owl perched high in a tree watching over his family. He comes and goes, likely bringing food to her. But ALWAYS, there is Mom, sitting on the nest for she-doesn’t-know-how-long keeping those eggs warm. Day and night she’s there. Through all our recent snow storms, she’s been there. Keeping those eggs warm.
As I hear the hail rapping against my windows, I think of the owl. Keeping those eggs warm. One can’t help but be impressed by her tenacity and patience. She doesn’t know the outcome. How many more days? How many will live? Are there predators around? Yet she sits. Keeping those eggs warm.
Jesus spoke often about patience and its decisive role in our walk with God. He says, in Luke21:19, “By your patience you will gain your souls.” (NKJV) Not by good deeds alone, not by courage, not even by studying Scripture. By patience. It occurs to me that that may be because so many other attributes are required for patience. It takes courage. It takes faith. It takes love. It takes wisdom. Perhaps that is why Jesus says we can “bear fruit with patient endurance.” (Luke 8:15 NRSV)
The fact that the owl mother can’t know the outcome of her vigil brings to mind another aspect of our walk with God. We must wait for God’s timing in all things and “let patience have her perfect work.” (James 1:4 KJV) Isaiah says “Those that wait for the Lord shall renew their strength…. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NRSV) Today, it is almost counter-cultural to wait. But that is what God requires of us. Waiting for His perfect work.
So, do stop by the library and visit with the mother owl. She’ll be there. Keeping those eggs warm.