What a Mess!

ImageI know the picture isn’t very pretty but this is what I’ve been dealing with for the past few months! BARN SWALLOWS!!! These little buggers built a nest last year up under the eaves of our front porch on the brick wall and truthfully, I didn’t think much about it…until they had babies. It was a mess and I couldn’t wait for them to leave! After the little ones had left the nest and it was empty, i tore the nasty thing down and all was well. Or so I thought.

This spring, I began to notice the swallows circling my front porch again, chirping and swooping down in the aerial acrobatics they are best known for. Walked out the front door, looked up at “the” corner (cause that’s the only place they like!) and what do you know? They were building a new nest!

I grabbed the water hose and promptly sprayed the little bits of mud down. I put away the hose, all the while congratulating myself for catching it early. Next morning, I walk out the front door and hear swallows chirping. I look up and there is a huge blob of mud and grass and bird poop back up in the exact same place! I grab the hose and you know the rest.

This went on for a couple of weeks until we had to go out of town on a trip. I put the whole thing out of my mind until we got back and I stepped out the door one morning to get the paper. Swooping and chirping? I looked up and there was the momma, proudly sitting on a completed nest (and eggs, I had no doubt)! It is a little-known fact that, after a swallow builds a nest and lays eggs, that nest is protected by FEDERAL law! Geesh!

“Too late to do anything about it now!” I grumbled as I went back inside. For the next month, those parents commandeered my front porch and anyone that showed up at my front door had to run a gauntlet of dive-bombing swallows just to get inside the house! The mess was incredible! I never knew little baby birds could produce so much poop! As I watched one day, they hung their little bottoms over the edge of the nest and let ‘er fly, hitting the concrete below and splattering poop everywhere!

Needless to say, the babies grew up and left the nest. I tore it down. Guess what? “THEY’RE BAAAACCKK!” I went to the store and bought an owl – They laughed at it. I tried to squirt them with the hose – they think its a fun game we are playing! So, for the last few days, every morning and every afternoon, I drag the hose around to the front, climb up on a ladder and blast off the mud and any potential new construction. I’m sure my neighbors think I’m kooky by this time.

My point?

As I was standing on the ladder this morning destroying the latest swallow attempt at a foundation, cold water running down my armpit, I had a thought. Actually, it was more like an epiphany but I don’t use those big words unless I have to, so for now, let’s just call it a thought…a profound thought though, if I do say so myself. It was like the Holy Spirit was showing me what sin is like in my life.  I started thinking…my sin is just like this mud. If I don’t keep it washed off the wall of my life, I know there’s gonna be an enormous mess in the end. Even Paul said, “The things I know to do good, I don’t do but the things I know I shouldn’t do, I do! What’s up with that?!?” (I’m paraphrasing here). We all struggle and that makes me feel a little better somehow, knowing that other people have to keep washing off their “mud” too. But isn’t there a better way, so I don’t have to keep doing this over and over and over????

It’s so simple, we miss it sometimes. A life lived in close relationship with Jesus Christ is what we need to keep our “walls” clean. Oh sure, there will be setbacks as we stray from time to time. We may look up and see some mud starting to form but I think the important thing is that we stay on top of how we are living, aware of those times and we act quickly to make sure a nest doesn’t get built – ’cause those are hard to tear down.

Kind of a silly analogy and maybe quite simple but it made perfect sense to me this morning. Another simple thing that suddenly made sense? Taping brightly-colored strips of paper to the ceiling keeps the birds away. They don’t like them. Paper flapping in the breeze – it works! Who knew?!?

Father, as Your child, I ask You tohelp me to walk through the process of surrendering my will to You. I want to exchange rebellion and stubborness for a willing and obedient heart. When I refuse to listen, annoint my ears to hear; when I am blinded by my own desires, open my eyes to see. I want to submit to the control and direction of Your Holy Spirit, who lives in me.