Please pray for the birds that inhabit the areas around the Methodist Oaks retirement center in Orangeburg, SC. Judging by what they did to my car last week, they need to see an avian gastrointestinalogist. I went to visit “some” of my church members over there (we now have too many to see in one day!) in the main building, and I parked in my usual spot near the chapel. I have parked there many, many times.
When I came out an hour and a half later, I found that I had been brutally and mercilessly attacked by a flock of some unknown species of birds (maybe they were Methodist birds making a comment on how my Baptist members are taking over their retirement center!) decided to coat my car with their destructive, corrosive, offensive, fecal material!
Though I had to pause to admire their sense of symmetry and uniformity in coverage, I knew their waste was already burrowing through my car’s clear coat finish, and would soon penetrate the paint underneath. The last thing I wanted was a permanently spotted car reminding me daily of the horror of that moment!
I drove to a carwash and did the $6.00 deluxe (with the “blaster” option) wash and was hopeful that it might not be that bad as I saw some of the “stuff” on the windshield beginning to break-up. Alas, my hope was short-lived for when I got out and examined the car I saw that no real progress had been made.
I went across the street to K-Mart and got $19.00 worth of bug/tar remover, auto towels, and cleaning mitt set (It was on clearance for $10)…then back over to the car wash where I worked for about 30 minutes spraying each spot and having to wipe and buff each spot!
Then I had to rinse the stuff off with the cleaning wand BEFORE I went through ANOTHER $6.00 wash! On the brighter side, my car looked great afterwards!
The moral? First, look at empty parking spaces under trees if they are empty with the rest of the lot full! Second, we all get bird “stuff” (my word of choice for human or animal waste in a public setting!) on us from time to time. Whatever the difficulty is, whether real or perceived, we have a choice as to how to respond. The bird poop reminds me of “unhealthy” responses like anger, bitterness, despair, etc. to our circumstances. Now, the responses are not necessarily unhealthy as a first response (like my first response when I saw the car), but if they are left on the car…uh, your life, they can ruin your shine!
Bad stuff is going to happen, that is certain. I have seen, however, a wide range of responses to similar situations. Some people harbor bitterness and anger, and those attitudes burrow their way through the surface of their lives to their hearts, and to the part of their brains that control vision. What I mean is that unresolved anger and bitterness color how they perceive the rest of life…like looking through the windshield of my car, I couldn’t see clearly, nor focus on the road with all that “stuff” in the way.
Some people, spend their whole lives with a dirty windshield, filtering everything through their hurt or disappointment or pain…and they miss opportunity after opportunity to get better finally decide that this is how life is supposed to be…covered with bird droppings. They even forget how their life was before when they were shiny!
We are supposed to be shining in a dark world with the love of Christ, but if our main agenda is to display our disappointment and heartache and bitterness, etc., then we miss the point of the journey all together. God promises to work all things out for good if you trust him. He provides the truth and power necessary for you to forgive others of whatever they might have done to hurt you, in effect, cleaning off the “stuff” that has so clouded your vision and dulled your shine.
How can you tell if you need a trip to the carwash (or “soul” wash?)? Check your shine! Paul gives a great description of it in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
If your life isn’t looking more and more like this, maybe you need to take a closer look at your windshield, because you never know when someone is taking a closer look at you!