This past summer a family of robins made their home on an outside speaker on my deck.  I tried dissuading the birds from building their nest on such a precarious spot but they were determined, and I didn’t have the heart to tear the nest down.  

For weeks I watched mother robin patiently sit on the eggs waiting for them to hatch.  Early one morning three little beaks popped up over the edge of the nest. What a joy it was to watch the adults care for their young – countless trips back and forth to bring worms and bugs to fed the little ones, plus hours upon hours of sitting and keeping them safe and warm.

It seemed only a matter of days before their feathers fluffed out and they were filling up the nest with hardly any room for mother robin.  It wasn’t long before I saw one little bird awkwardly flutter past the kitchen window and land in the grass. He will never survive, I thought, much too young to leave the safety of the nest!  A few minutes later, mother robin perched herself on the edge of the nest, encouraging the other two to get moving. The next thing I knew, one flew out, again very awkwardly landing in the grass.  It wasn’t long after and the third one tried its wings too and joined the others on the ground. Their flying was awkward and their hopping around not any more graceful but off they went, following after their mother.

The empty nest left me with a few questions to ponder.  How do the baby robins know when it is time to leave the safety and security of the nest and fly off into the unknown?  Is it when life becomes too cramped and suffocating as you outgrow your present situation? Is it when the urge to try your wings and fly becomes stronger than your fear of the unknown?  Or, is it when you hear a voice calling you and encouraging you to step out – that now is the time?

Autumn is often looked upon as a season of endings and dying but it can also be a season of new beginnings as well.  And so I offer these questions to ponder:

  • What is cramping and suffocating in your life?
  • What have you outgrown that you are still clinging to?
  • What urgings are in your heart?
  • Where might God be encouraging you to step out and try your wings?

You don’t have to fly any more expertly or gracefully than the baby robins at first.  God is there to take your hand and lead you.