Monday, May 01, 2006

A sparrow's bath

Life in Christian County, Kentucky... More About Birds and Animals...

This morning, I saw a little sparrow splashing wildly in a big shallow puddle behind a store in Hopkinsville. He was up to his knees in rainwater, and he was taking a good bath. He didn't pay any attention to me even when I eventually drove through the edge of his puddle. What a funny, cheeky little bird! I'm glad he had a chance to freshen up today.

I don't know what kind of a sparrow he was. We have many varieties of native sparrows here plus the European house sparrow. I've had sparrows at my bird feeders before and have tried to identify them. Identification requires close observation because such small details differentiate the species of sparrows.

I was talking once with a man in the waiting room at the doctor's office. He mentioned that he feeds the birds in his backyard in the old downtown area of Hopkinsville. After hearing a little about the variety of birds we see at bird feeders in the country, he told me that he had mostly sparrows at his feeders. "That's OK," he said. "They're interesting, too."

Jesus spoke of sparrows to illustrate God's loving care when he was talking to his disciples about the troubles they would face. God sees even the sparrow when it falls, Jesus said, and we can be sure that we are very much more precious in God's eyes. (Matthew 10:29-31).

Ethel Waters titled her autobiography, "His Eye is On The Sparrow." (I read that amazing account of her rise to fame from a terrible childhood when I was about 14 years old, and I have never forgotten it.) In her later years, Ethel Waters often sang the wonderful old hymn, "His Eye is On The Sparrow," for Billy Graham crusades. As I listen to this hymn and read its words, it brings tears to my eyes to remember how Ethel Waters sang it.

And so the happy sight of that little sparrow splashing in the rainwater has caused me to ponder some things I would not otherwise have thought of this morning and even moved me to tears at the memory of a beautiful old lady who sang with immense feeling.

And here is the little sparrow making the water fly.

Sparrow bathing in rainwater"Splish splash, he was takin' a bath..." (lyrics)

Here's a nice study of the many mentions of the sparrow in the Bible.

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Trixie said...

Oh how wonderful!

You would have no way of knowing what an impact "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" has on me.

I was working at the newspaper here in OKC when the federal building was bombed on April 19, 1995. We went into crisis operation, of course. I wound up working double shifts every day for three weeks straight. Knowing that this long stretch was starting, I went home for an hour or so before returning to work that first night.

As I was walking my dog in the park across from my apartment, I could only pray that groaning kind of prayer that the Holy Spirit carries for us. And as the sun shone on my face for that few minutes, my focus became clear as I looked at sparrows playing all around me. The words of the hymn swallowed me up and wrapped me in His love.

I don't know that I could have made it through that time but for that moment and that hymn.

It's good to see your sparrow friend reveling in the day.

Genevieve said...

Thank you for sharing that story, Trixie. I have never gone through a terrible event like that, and I hope that I never do. I have had a few moments like that, though, that I really felt the Holy Spirit near at a time when I was very distressed.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.