Don’t Fly Alone

Do you still have hummingbirds in your lawn? We have one hummingbird and I’m concerned. He (she) comes to the feeder, sits on the swing (yes, Carole bought a hummingbird swing. I made fun of her, but as usual she and the birds were right.) The little bird swings for a bit, looks into the house through the window to see how we are or just to check in, and then feeds before zooming off. The bird follows the same pattern a couple of times an hour.

Has that bird noticed his buddies are gone? I wonder if it looks into the house to ask if it can spend the winter with us? My anxiety rises thinking about that moment when the little bird realizes he didn’t get the departure memo. What went into the decision for him to stay behind? Is he the Rudolf of his herd—they won’t let him join in…?

Does he plan to meet his flock at Joplin on their way to St. Petersburg? I’m also wondering about Wednesday when the temp is supposed to reach a high of 50 that the creature will decide he had better pack. How lonely will he feel when he reaches Keokuk or Columbia, Mo? Will he suffer severe separation anxiety?

Some years ago, I put Carole on a plane in Nashville to send her home to be with her sick mother. As I drove onto I-40 to head for South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, I felt all three words: Severe! Separation! Anxiety! and said out loud, “Dude, you are alone!” I don’t do alone well. A couple of weeks later, I was hurting so bad I went into a Macon, Georgia pet store to borrow a puppy to hold.

I am concerned about that hummingbird. He has become a family member. I’m also concerned about several of my close friends and a few more acquaintances who are alone today. Divorce. Post funeral. Living with the shakes kicking drugs. Abandonment, neglect, rejection, results of wrong choices, no clear pathway to day after tomorrow.

I want you to know—if you can make it to Joplin, I have friends there. There are also places along the way you’ll want to avoid. I know some of those places—don’t do this trip alone.

For 15-20 years, I’ve been building and equipping Southwood—the Community You’ve Always Wanted. Can you make it to Southwood? What is about the place that makes it so attractive? I’ve been thinking this weekend about the folks who live and work there. It is more than what they feel, need or long for. It is what they are becoming and what they do. It is the emotional and spiritual atmosphere—the culture. That is shown by how off-course hummingbirds are received, greeted, fed, encouraged and equipped for the rest of the journey. A 40-year old man said to me, “I need a man to embrace me—like a father does.” The culture is not a feeling.  It  is action!.

These are the essential elements of what makes a cluster of humans a family, or a tribe, a great place to work, church, life-group:

We BELIEVE the best IN each other

WANT (help make it happen) the best FOR each other

EXPECT (demand) the best FROM each other.1

I have been working this weekend defining each of those words.

1 Remarkable! ©2013 Dr. Randy Ross & David Salyers,(Enthusiasm Publishers)

©2016 D. Dean Benton

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