Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Black Birds Fall

Today I read a news piece on how thousands of blackbirds fell out of the sky on New Year's eve, over a small town in Arkansas. There have been a few other cases of such a phenomenon happening, the next most recent one being five hundred falling out the sky in Louisiana. As of the moment they haven't been able to find a sure reason as to why this happened.

I'm sure this conjures up a few images and thoughts in your mind but, for me, I just feel really sad about it.

For many people, ravens, crows, and magpies are members of the blackbird family that bring up feelings of foreboding and other ominous emotions and, to be honest, I can't blame you for that. For decades people have held a belief in the wayward nature of these creatures, a notion brought forth prominently through fictional representations. Whether its folk tales from the south or some other culture or, as is the case with many, lingering remembrance of Edgar Allen Poe's use of the bird in the aptly titled, "the Raven," people find them to be unsettling (at worst) and a general nuisance (at best).

I have a different set of opinions about these birds. I've honestly found their presence in my life to be one of comfort for a variety of reasons I won't go too far into here. (But being a brown boy for Pittsburgh, I seldom can think of a time where blackbirds haven't been around for me to see year after year. AND, from a biblical view, the idea that these birds are something of a symbol of evil is silly. God seems to only use them for very specific and important tasks.)

The compelling thoughts of what happened to them, aside, I realized that their oft thought dubious nature connects to somewhat of a theme you'll see me mentioning from time-to-time here in my personal blogs and interviews: We seem to be only able to focus on that which we find negative in things...and as such, we don't ever extend a forgiveness of grace in our lives. Blackbirds are thought of as harbingers of something malevolent and wicked, a sign of trouble or death but, ultimately, there isn't too much beyond our fiction to confirm this. Thus, there is a stigma attached to them, a harsh preconceived notion that many have just taken to wholeheartedly. That's just the way it is, right? But think of the ease we take to accepting an idea like this so easily. Do we do this with everything? People? Situations? Work?

I'm sure that nodding your head to that isn't something you're probably be proud of but, hey, if we're gonna be honest I'm the first one to nod my head to that. I've totally figured out, in a swift manner, that something or someone is a specific way and, because of that, well...My actions have jumped from that preconceived notion. We all do that and, sadly, its a part of our human nature, people. Oh yeah, we like to SAY we're all about people coming together and not being judgemental and whatnot but, its not a real truth for us. Or, maybe I should say, its not an EASY truth for us to adhere too.

I'm sure it falls under "pessimistic" but I think that people are generally an "All Together, Separate" kind of society. We like our stuff the way we like it and we like our people how we like them...Or, more realistically phrased, "we like our stuff the way that makes us comfortable and we like the people in our lives to adhere as close to that which keeps our comfort zone...comfortable."

Nowhere in that, unfortunately, is the act of extending grace or being forgiving to others.

Now, now, I'm not saying we can't have some stuff our way and some folk our way. We all know that a decent enough amount of the time, we WILL have that happen in our lives. Still, even though those moments happen and its cool, man-o-MAN are we quick to flip an attitude or feel "wounded" at the slightest bit of something challenging or stretching our perception of what is "right" or "fair" to us. We get that anger, fear, or hurt and we just...RUN WITH IT! And as soon as that happens, we forget being the one on the other side of that moment or situation. The grace you'd want extended to you and the forgiveness you may want bestowed to you for a remark or actions...that just goes ghost, man. Its gone.You get a label of being something that, hey, maybe you ARE to some degree but, at the same time, aren't TOTALLY DEFINED BY.

How depressing is it that, many of us don't get a chance to be allowed to show more than what becomes our mark and stigma? We touch the wrong button or AREN'T all that we're expected to be at that moment and, poof, there goes your chance. Its all over. The End. Fin. You're just...THAT.

It's terrible and, I know I'm not saying a thing that we haven't experienced at one point or another as individuals. It happens all the time.

And I guess my point is, that it DOES happen all the time. Hearts are broken, mistakes are made, wrong words are used, or expectations aren't met. Then we just say, "Hey, those birds are there and, man, look at how freaky they are! They MUST be evil! Its a sign of bad things coming." From then on out, regardless of what they actually do, how they could possibly be one of the smartest bird species on the planet, goes right out the window and you're just a blackbird. That nuisance. A sign of for boding. No possibility of being more than that, or to become better than what you've been, or even something that has a specific reason for God placing it on the earth.

Some blackbirds that feel from the sky one night. Weird but, doesn't mean anything to anyone.

Maybe,,, just like grace and forgiveness to those it isn't EASY too.

- Conduct Lionhardt

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