I am on my way home from an early Sunday morning walk, sidewalk under feet, breath in, out. The air is thick with the possibility of rain, and my heart is thick with layers of fear and anxiety pealed back in small pieces like shreds of sunburn to reveal hints of new skin.

A crow hops through the middle of the street next to me, stops its awkward thrusts and screams a startling caw-caw. I feel I’m being yelled at for getting too close to some food or a nest, and I cannot forget how the territorial crows came swooping down on my friend’s head and how she had to run home to escape them.

The crow in the street calls out, and then another snarl-throated bird answers.

Caw-caw.

Caw-caw.

The one next to me opens its beak so wide that it looks like it may come off the hinges and calls out from deep in its bird self with a strong voice. And the other echoes, rustling the leaves of a large bushy tree several houses away.

I wonder if they are talking about meal time, babies, home, or if they are only calling out:

I am here.

I am here.

I continue on my walk and feel my breathing, my heart beat, my weakness and need call out,

I am here.

And I hear the One who answers,

I am here.

I stand before my church family and family family and friends like family, and my stomach is tangled in knots, and my feet are fitted with heels, and I am so afraid because I am giving the sermon, the sermon. I’ve never done this before.

But while I speak about the life of David, about the call of God, and how we wait, and what God has brought me through, and how we are loved, I say, “I am here.”

My voice gets stronger as I go, and I see the head bobs, and some with eyes rimmed tears, and my cry, “I am here” met by theirs, and His.

Hear me, I say.

I do, they say.

This sacred call and response. Like the birds.

Linking up today with “Just Write” (an exercise in free writing everyday moments) at The Extraordinary Ordinary.

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