This Ordinary Bird

Last fall I was excited to see the public invitation to join the community choir to perform the Messiah, but after the first practice, I was daunted.

That was too hard.

I can’t read music. I sing too fast, too slow, too flat. I remembered the time years ago in a huge community Messiah sing-along, my enthusiastic voice rang out solo on the last hallelujah, one beat too soon. I wanted to crawl under the pew.

Maybe I should abandon this idea now before I embarrass myself again.

But I went back the next week, and the next, and the next.  A month later, I was thrilled to be dressed in concert black, a part of the choir on the stage, singing those wonderful words and that heavenly music.

A few days ago I was excited about having a blog, about writing a story each week, but after the first one, I am daunted. I’m not a great writer. I can’t learn the computer language and maintain a website. The email send-out failed.

Maybe I should abandon this idea now before I embarrass myself again.

I am well-acquainted with the temptation to quit.

And sometimes I quit even before I start.

Like when I was asked to lead the children in weekly worship time. “I can’t do that.” I emailed. “I do play the guitar but not in public. I can’t keep my guitar in tune and my voice cracks and I can’t find the starting note and my fingers mix up the chords. So Nope. Sorry. Not me. I can’t do that.”

I did think about Moses as I typed that email – see Exodus 4 – but I totally expected someone else would step up, a better someone, who would do a better job.

That week I was chatting with my Ethiopian son-in-law. (Maybe someday I will tell the story of how I got the privilege of having an Ethiopian son-in-law.) I hadn’t told him that I’d been asked to lead children’s worship but for some reason that was the day he told me this story:

Famous Christian Singer came to their church in Addis Abeba to give a concert. Young Man from the church was playing the keyboard for him but Famous Christian Singer complained to Pastor. “Don’t you have a better keyboard player?”

Pastor went to Son-in-law, who is a good pianist, saying, “Famous Christian Singer is unhappy with Young Man playing. Would you please come and play for him?” Son-in-law said he would speak with Famous Christian Singer.

Finding Famous Christian Singer, Son-in-law asked him if it was true he was unhappy with Young Man’s playing. He said yes, he wanted someone better to play. Son-in-law then said, “Famous Christian Singer, Young Man is a good-enough player. He is learning. He will play for you. And you — you are forgetting the Holy Spirit.”


I retracted my email and began leading the children’s singing that next Sunday.  And I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Almost as much as the Messiah.

“Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best.”    – Henry Van Dyck

The woods is a big place and it needs all of us birds.

So this ordinary bird will keep on:  singing and writing and enjoying the ‘woods’ –remembering God’s Spirit is here.


11 thoughts on “This Ordinary Bird

  1. when I read your words, I feel like I have gone back in time and am sitting at your kitchen table having a conversation with you. So encouraging! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Sarah! And I was there through your ordeal, never guessing that was the case! Your little light shines through you know! A treasure for Him, a great story for us.

    Liked by 1 person

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