As I shared previously, yesterday was the first Mother’s Day in my life without my own mother (who is now in Heaven). This fact, combined with so many new grandsons running around under foot, has led me to do a lot of thinking about how life progresses from one generation to the next, and also about how each generation does its part in producing and protecting the ensuing generation.
Bear all of this in mind as I now relate what happened to me when I came in and went walking late Sunday evening. The Lord obviously knew full well what was on my heart and mind. In what can only be described as His perfect timing, two things that have never happened to me before occurred while I was out walking.
As I approached the entrance to our subdivision, I noticed a Mockingbird on the ground. She seemed to be hurt, and was walking sideways, dragging what appeared to be a broken wing with her. While I took note of her situation, and felt pity, I made no effort to intrude on her space.
No sooner had I passed by, however, than I realized that she was not hurt after all. For only a few feet away from her in the grass was a small fledgling. Apparently, either accidentally or intentionally, one of her chicks had just left the nest. She was now protecting her offspring by attempting to serve as a decoy in order to lure any perceived predator(s) such as myself away.
I had seen such things enacted on nature documentaries on television many times. But this was the first time I had ever witnessed any such behavior in nature firsthand. It was impressive to say the least. I pondered all of this as I continued my walk.
About twenty minutes later, I rounded a curve and headed up a little grade that passes near a large shade tree. As I passed by, I heard a fluttering sound and felt a rush of wind pass extremely close to the top of my head. As might be expected, my natural reaction was to swirl around and simultaneously duck to the side as quickly as I could. As soon as I did, I realized what had just happened. I had been dive-bombed by a mother Swift bird, which obviously had young somewhere nearby.
As she gained attitude and prepared for another attack, I clearly heard her chicks chirping loudly in the tree beside me. I quickly concluded that, like the Mockingbird mother I had encountered not twenty minutes before, this mother was simply protecting her offspring.
Having reached this conclusion, I decided that the single best thing I could do under the circumstances was to “get out of Dodge”! I quickened my pace (ironically while walking backwards so as to protect my vulnerable side). She made two more passes before apparently concluding that I was no longer a threat.
These two episodes, coming back-to-back as they did on Mother’s Day of all days, certainly left an impression on me. A mother, by definition, is someone who has produced and then raised, or is raising, an ensuing generation of offspring. The vast majority of us have (or had) some such person in our lives. The sacrificial love practiced by mothers is something for which we are eternally indebted.
The two mother birds I encountered yesterday evening were only doing what comes natural to all mothers everywhere. They were protecting their children in an attempt to see them through to adulthood.
It is probable that these two mother birds will be outlasted by their offspring. Their fledglings in turn will likely one day grow up to produce and raise their own brood of youngsters, before they themselves pass on and give way to those who come after them. But in their time, like links in a chain, these two mother birds faithfully did their part to give and sustain life. They each laid their eggs, hatched their chicks, and bravely protected their hatchlings until the were ready to leave the nest. And in this way, life is renewed, generation by generation. Such is the way God has designed our world.
Of course, similar principles apply to us as well. Forty or fifty years ago, my two sisters and I celebrated Mother’s day with our mother and grandmothers. A few years later, we were joined in this celebration by our respective spouses, and then by our children. Along the way, however, our grandmothers went on to Heaven. Three years ago, my mother was still alive; and I had no grandchildren of my own. Now, my mother is in Heaven; and I will soon have four grandsons.
What do we make of this? That each generation, in its time, did its part. In her time in this world, my mother did her best to provide for and to protect her children. She cared for us and nurtured us until we were old enough and mature enough to make it on our own in this world
Having accomplished this, she then helped us and our spouses to raise our own children. And once she had fulfilled these responsibilities and all the other purposes for which God had created her, she went home to Heaven to be with Him as her Lord and Savior. If the truth be known, I will have to get to Heaven myself one day before I truly discover just how hard my mother worked and just how much she sacrificed on behalf of me and others in this world.
These days, for the most part, my wife and I have now raised our own children; but we are still busy helping them to rear our grandchildren to maturity so that they too can one day function as autonomous individuals in the world in which they will live. At some future point, when the time comes that all of our own earthly tasks will have been completed, we too will pass on to Heaven.
But until then, I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the chain of life which God has created, and through which He works His miracle of creation with each successive generation. I fully recognize and acknowledge all that has been done by those who have come before me, as well as the role they have played in giving me life and raising me to maturity.
Equally as important, I plan to give as much as I can in return to those to whom God has now given life through me. I pledge to do all I can to see them through to maturity as well. For in this way, I help to pass life on. I help life to be renewed. More importantly, I help to fulfill at least part of the reason for which God created me.