Last evening I was sitting on the patio just before sunset, when my vision was filled with hundreds of birds flying overhead, flocked together, and headed the same Southward direction. This was not the first time I have noticed these fancy fliers.
At our previous house, about 8 miles away from here, and 2-3 years ago, is when I first noticed these flocks, seemingly following the sunset. I found that I could darn near set my watch by them, 6:30 PM, October – March. It was then that my curiosity was stirred, but it piqued today, as I gave way to study for an explaination.
Why do they do this? Where are they going? What allows them to do so in such a scheduled way? How does such a large group of birds come together and head the same direction – happily chatting along the way, I might add.
They look something like this, except thousands fly overhead… they just keep coming and chatting. They don’t usually swarm and do fancy manuvers until they are over their roosting spot. My home, isn’t their roosting spot. So, all I see is bunches of squacking birds in the sky.
This is called a “crow murmuration”.
What’s happening is:
- The birds are returning to their roosting site. They leave in the morning to feed, and return in the evening. Their roosting and feeding spots can be far from each other.
- They fly in circular patterns to confuse predators, but actually their sheer size alone connfuses predators. Hence, this is literally called, “The confusion effect”.
- They are flying to find their roosting spot and warmth during the cold winter nights.
These murmurations can number from 100’s to 1,000’s of birds, all flying at sunset.
During these frenzied flight patterns some pretty cool things are actually happening. The birds are exchanging information on feeding sites that they found during the day. But some are making their territorial mating calls – telling their partner where they are. Scientists tell us that birds communicate more intensively during sunrise and sunset. And, they are loud and noisey too!
Crazy, smart and loud birds, right?
How do they know where to go? And what about those birds that migrate 1,000’s of miles, non-stop? How do they do it and know their course? The smart ones, who study such things, tell us that these birds can detect the energy of the Earth’s magnetic field. Built within them, is some sort of navigational compass that helps them to travel long distances.
I remember teaching Life Science years ago, at the middle school level and teaching about the magnetic particles, thought to be in the birds beak. These particles provided a navigational map used in conjunction with the Earth’s magnetic field that kept them on course. These tiny particles are so small, the magnetic pieces in the bird haven’t even been located yet. Scientists aren’t sure where they are.
But the most recent studies tell us that there are proteins in the birds eyes that allow them to visualize magnetic fields. And so, their sense of direction is associated with this field. There is even some research to suggest there may be parts of the birds inner ear that picks up on the currents of magnetism in the Earth’s atmosphere.
So, is the bird equipped with what it needs to navigate in it’s nose, eyes, or ears? We really don’t know for sure.
You know what else we don’t know? We don’t know how their brain processes all this. Scientists don’t know the part of their brain that handles this process and they don’t know how it actually processes these signals which are translated into directions for the birdie. The area of the brain where magnetic directional information is processed is still not clear.
Even the homing ability of the homing pigeon is based on the “map and compass” model – which detects Earth’s magnetic field. That smart lil bird has served as messengers to deliver communication, signals and even compete in long distance races. They too, have an inate homing ability that most often allows it to return to it’s nest, using, you got it, magnetoreception.
So, whether it be in the ophthalmic nerve in the upper beak, a protein in the eye, or a current buzzing in it’s ear, these birds have been created with a device within them, to bring them home, that science does not understand.
Why would we think we are any less than these birds?
“He has set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”Ecclesiates 3:11
We too, have been created with a device within us, to bring us home, that science does not understand.
We would be wise to learn this lesson from the birds.
Cheers to you,
Sunday Sermon 10.2.21
This is the classic line, spoken (yelled more like it) by Tom Hanks, in the role of the coach of an all ladies baseball team, the Rockford Peaches. You’ll remember, Evelyn had made a bad throw and takes the loud and very emotional correction of Coach Jimmy when arriving back on the sidelines, and in front of everyone. This, of course, breaks her and she starts crying. The Coach, unable to process her feelings expressed in liquid words then quips, “There’s no crying in baseball.”
Doesn’t she know the rules? How can she cry? That’s not allowed. No matter the crushing feelings, there’s no crying allowed. Every tear, whether liquid words or not, must be stuffed, capped, controlled and shut down. That’s how you play the game!
Well, let’s step back from that great movie of 1992, “A League of Their Own”, and ask, is that how we play the game? Are those the rules that we are trying to live by?
- no crying allowed
- stuff those emotions
- cap those feelings
- control that pain
- shut down that sensitivity
- hide your soul
- protect yourself
I recently attended a study that challenged those “rules” afresh for me. In that study, Christina said,
“Emotions are like children. We don’t lock them in the trunk and we don’t let them drive.”Christina at OasisOC
She went on to include these statements…
” Feelings buried alive will never die” and “You have to feel it to heal it.”
I am telling you, these truths have rocked my world recently. They have challenged the lies and rules that have crept into my thinking that say, “Just suck it up”, “It’ll get better”, “Grow up”, “Take control”, “That’s not spiritual” and so on.
You see, our emotions are God-given. He has them, too. He gave them to us. If we lock them in the trunk and ignore their screaming, we are ignoring what He is saying to us. We are limiting Him. But neither do we allow them to drive our life. Somewhere there is a balance. Somewhere the rules have got to change.
This week, after setting out a while back to study the Psalms again, I had to press the pause button on that study, only a third of the way through the book. Why? There were waaaaaaaaay too many emotions and feelings being shared and I was kinda feeling overwhelmed. David and the other writers were sharing so raw and real, I was having trouble processing it all.
Look at some of these statements –
- I was in distress
- can you hear my groaning?
- their words are unreliable
- smooth talking deceivers
- my eyes of faith won’t focus anymore
- please deal with me gently
- they give birth to lies
- Lord, you seem so far away
- don’t forget me
- why have you hidden yourself
- everyone lies, everyone flatters. everyone deceives. Nothing but empty talk, smooth talk and double talk. Words are weapons, twisted tongues, lying lips, high minded talk THIS IS JUST 1 PSALM, PSALM 12
Folks, these phrases come directly from the first 12 Psalms. (And there are 150 of them!)
Here too, is a short list of other emotions that we see in the Psalms.
We see clearly raw and ugly emotions expressed and not covered up or locked in the trunk of these writers. What we can learn from them is that our emotions and expression of them comes as no surprise to God nor do they carry judgment or shame from Him. They are our emotions, and it is for us to process them in His truth and mercy and not allow them to be stuffed.
Those emotions are like a check engine light in our cars. We need to discover the issue that is causing the light to come on. Not simply seek to ignore the light. Damage will ensue should we not find out why that emotion is lighting us up. (Thanks again to Christina for this picture)
Jesus is taking us down the path of alignment. He wants our head and our heart to line up. That means our heart must be connected not detatched from feelings and emotions. Therapists call it being “affected”. Allowing yourself to be affected brings your head and heart into agreement.
” I’ve wanted my words and my ways to always agree.”David, in Psalms17:3
In these days, so many of us are dealing with feelings that are just plain overwhelming and the “rules” that have been engrained into us about the expression of those feelings is becoming unmanagable as well. Well, guess what… who made those rules and why are we playing by them?
We are made for so much more! You were made for authentic, whole, and perfectly aligned body, soul and spirit. But that does not come from playing by the “throw the kids in the trunk” philosophy. Learning to allow the kids/emotions into our car/life and seated in their rightful place is a lasting work that only God, our designer can help us with.
Our emotional God wants to heal in us the cause of that emotion, the actual issue lighting up the check engine button. Why we tend to feel that way, why we respond that way. He wants to take our hand and with us look at it, see it in His truth, and walk away from it free and embraced by His love, peace and purpose.
In our heart is the secret of it all. In our heart lie the secret issues that have led us to believe we cannot express or be free from certain feelings. Buried in our heart are the lies of our shame, fear, lonliness, betrayal and hurt. His truth must shine there and realign our feelings to His truth.
Your Heavenly Father wants you to be healed, whole, and live in the truth of His love. That means being emotional but Spirit led. That means recognizing and admiting those feelings but not letting them drive your life.
Today, you are one conversation with God away from freedom and authenticity, alignment of Spirit and soul. He cares for you, feels for you, longs to see you happy and free, not stiffled or shut down. Please don’t bottle things up anymore. Have that conversation with Him.
And one more thing, there can be crying anywhere your liquid words need expression, even in baseball.
Cheers to you,