Regarding Joe In front of my desk is a file cabinet. On top of that cabinet is a birdcage. In that cage sits Joe, a Little green Conure's parrot. Joe originally lived with a family who knew nothing about parrots and had children who didn't know much, if anything about animals. Over time, Joe got thinner and thinner and was finally given to my mother in law because she is the local Dr. Dolittle and seems to be a magnet for sick and mistreated animals. Joe, it seemed had been fed parrot food for large birds. Since Conure's are small birds, this was a problem but his well-meaning owners didn't know it. I don't know how or why, but Betty (my mother in law) ended up acquiring Joe for herself. Well, Betty had quite enough critters as it was and one day I mentioned that I always wanted a parrot, so that night I had a new addition to our family. I read all I could about parrots and decided that I could make this work. Joe was thin, had bare spots in his feathers, and was very withdrawn. He sat most of the day and didn't move in his cage. I found out that one is supposed to keep a new parrot in a place that it can see what's going on all the time, that way bonding is established. Ok, where am I most of the time? You guessed it, sitting here at this desk, so I put his cage up high (they like that too) in front my desk so we could have man to bird talks every day. Over time, he gained weight and got new feathers, I found that he loves apples and nectarines. He started moving around in his cage and making noises. He would never allow anyone to touch him unless he had no choice, I could reach in and pet him if he was cornered. I had hoped that eventually he wouldn't need the cage and decided to start leaving the door open so he could come out and go back in whenever he wanted to. Well that helped some because one day he stuck his beak out and slowly looked around. After several minutes, he walked out and sat on his door, which was more like a castle drawbridge than a door. He sat there for about half an hour then went back inside. The next day, he did the same thing but he got a bit braver and took a few steps out onto the file cabinet. The following day, he climbed on top of his cage and sat there watching me. Always, though, he jumped back into his cage at the first sing of anything new or moving. Now I can walk past him and he doesn't panic. One night I moved too close to his cage to quickly and he went crazy. He flew around the room twice and landed on my desk. This would have been great, it was what I had been hoping for all along, BUT... he did it out of fear, not because he wanted to. I can't help but think about how much like us Joe is. If he would only take the step, I would give him all the apples and goodies that he wanted, I would gladly talk with him and give him all the love and attention that he needed, if he would just trust me. The same situation exists between God and us, He would give us SO much, if only we would take a step toward Him. If we could just take a leap of faith now and then, even if it was rarely, He would be there waiting to catch us in his arms. Yet we sit in out self constructed cage and if we are brave, we peep out and imagine what might be out there waiting for us. If we know God is there we, or at least some of us, wonder what He might have waiting for us. If we don't know Him, or won't know Him, we envision all sorts of terrors awaiting us. Those terrors, either real or imagined, keep us paralyzed with fear and keep us from taking that leap and realizing our potential. Every now and then I put a piece of apple in his food pan, a sample of what awaits him if he wants it. Every day I sit here and talk to him, sometimes he listens but doesn't understand, sometimes he is so absorbed in getting out of reach that he doesn't even hear my tone of voice. How often, I wonder, does God give us a sample of what's waiting for us? How often do we not understand because we are too frozen with fear? I wish that one day, Joe would shoot out of that cage like a little green rocket and land on my desk or better still, on my arm. I would love to look him in the eye, face to face, and tell him how long I have waited for him to do that. How long I've waited to share an apple with him as family. God feels pretty much the same way about us, not my opinion, He says it himself in the bible, except his feelings for us are multiplied by an infinite number compared of what we are capable of. How long will He wait? you may ask, and that answer also is in the bible. Until your heart stops beating. How much longer will your heart beat? Well, unless you know exactly how many seconds you have left, you may be living your last few seconds right now. Why wait? take the leap.
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