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.
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.
Subscribe for updates
and be the first to receive posts and exclusive content. You'll also receive my FREE resource.
How courageous you were.. to write and share with your congregation.. I can imagine there were tears.. your writing is always so moving, Ashley.. xo Smidge
Thank you, Smidge. And I loved your post on courage today, too. I like what you quoted about only needing a few seconds of courage to take the plunge. Courage does seem to beget more courage, too…doesn’t it?
I really want to hear more……more please!! Goodness I wish we could do coffee right now. :-)
Fiona, how I would love to catch up! Maybe we can make that happen for reals the next time I visit down south. xoxo
You’re on! You could steal baby Drew and we can drool over him and chat…..
Smidge said “courageous”…oh, yes, that for sure! Such courage – and the crows, what a metaphor – big black birds cawing at you, meant on this occasion to frighten you off. But you “stayed” and you walked through it, “feeling the fear, but doing it anyway” as Maya Angelou says. You are brave and bold for one so tender-hearted. And the words you spoke were filled with brilliance. Shine on dear girl! I love you and am so proud,
your head-bobbing, tear-rimmed mama
Thank you for cheering me on in every way. I was so glad to see my mama bird out there, bobbing her head away. :) Love you.
Perfect metaphor Ashley! I’m so proud of you for giving the sermon & just really sad we weren’t there to hear it (I’ll have to see anout listening to it online)! So sorry I’ve also forgotten to ask you how it went…love you friend!
Love you, sweetie. I look forward to talking with you super soon. Thanks for all your support.
Oh, the crows…On my morning walks I have found myself terrified of them. Maybe I will view them a bit differently now. Beautifully written, so thankful to walk this life with you.
I’m so grateful for you, Jen.
And terrified of those birds, too, actually. But writing about them did seem to help me appreciate — hoping I remember that the next time they caw all scary by my head.
I guess I’m just going to have to check out that church website! So sorry to have missed your sermon debut. Way to go, Ash
Thanks, Shell. I kept thinking of you. xoxo
i love how you took those birds and found heaven in them. i run almost daily and am terrified of the mama-birds protecting their nests, but i won’t view them the same after this post. you have a beautiful spirit and it shines through your words. i’m so glad to have found you through just write. bless you, e. (www.emilywierenga.com)
Emily, so great to “meet you” through Just Write. Thank you so much for your lovely comment — what a gift to me this day. I know, aren’t those mama crows somethin’ fierce?! Amazing how much smaller they are than us, but how many of us are so freaked by them. Go forth and run with confidence — they’re just talkin’. :) Blessings to you, as well.
A memorable church Sunday for me. Words of wisdom and observation. A greatly drawn metaphor comparing us to David. Your delivery was inspirational and elegant. We all have unique gifts to share.
Thank you, Papa. I was so glad to have you there! xoxo