I've had three birds in my life...pets in a cage. In fourth grade my good friend's family had cockatiels. They laid eggs several times over the course of a few years that Jessica and I were close playmates. When I would go to her house I would always check on the babies. I was amazed at how funny they looked when they first hatched, and how they would grow and change.
My friend's family sold the babies, so they had to be held frequently so they would be used to people and make good pets. I watched many a Nick at Night rerun while sitting on Jessica's couch with a baby bird in my lap. One day I went home and asked my own parents if I could buy one of the baby birds. And so began my bird-owning days. On my birthday that year I got a beautiful yellow cockatiel. About a year later I got another one, yellow and grey. They both lived until after I graduated college, so my poor mother actually cared for them the majority of the time that they were mine. (Maybe this is why my own kids have no pets!)
In the early years of our marriage Jon and I also "adopted" a little green and yellow parakeet. That's an even longer story, but the point is, I'm used to being around birds. I've held them, fed them, been up close to them. I think they are quite beautiful, but I'm not completely intrigued with them anymore.
I think this is why it was so fun to feed some wild birds during our trip to the zoo last week. I got to see the whole experience with fresh eyes...the eyes of my children. One dollar bought us a little cup of nectar. And then the wonder, the amazement, the excitement began!
As my kids giggled, got nervous, and extended their little hands, I was reminded of the amazing wonder of these wild animals.
Something that would have been routine and ordinary became thrilling and exciting...because I was seeing the whole experience through fresh eyes.
And I wondered what other joys I could be missing because they are old experiences; potentially exciting things that have become routine and ordinary.
It reminds me of something that happened in bible study about 8 years ago. I was part of a small group of women doing Beth Moore's bible study on the life of David. One girl in the group had not grown up in a bible believing/teaching church, so much of the material was brand new to her. I will never forget the week we studied about Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11-12). This girl came into our discussion group and was completely shocked and appalled. She kept saying "I just can't believe it!" "I didn't see that coming." "I just had no idea." It was a wonderful experience because I was able to see the story through her fresh eyes.
Isn't this what we need to pray for? That we would approach God's Word and God's world with fresh eyes? That His Truth would not become ordinary, routine or explainable. That we would regularly be in awe of God's intense love, amazing grace and wonderful works?
This year I'm reading through the Bible in a new translation. I've always loved my NIV study Bible, but several months ago I picked up an ESV. Its been a wonderful change, because I'm not able to just sort of skim across familiar passages. The language is just different enough that I'm able to see God's Word through the fresh eyes of a new translation.
Let's ask God for that today. For fresh eyes as we read His Word. Fresh eyes as we go through our routines and take care of our responsibilities. Fresh eyes as we teach and train and share His Truth with those under our influence.
"Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law." (Psalm 119:18)