From My Kitchen Window
by Major Chick Yuill –
When I was a young and cynical cadet at the William Booth Memorial Training College in London, England, there was one thing, more than any other, that got me really mad. It seemed to me–and with hindsight I’m sure it didn’t happen as often as I thought–that every time the college was visited by an officer-couple, the wife was given a lesser role. While the husband got to preach a proper sermon with a proper biblical text, the wife had to share some little anecdote from her life to which she added a spiritual application.
On more than one occasion, those little talks carried the title, “From my kitchen window…” I didn’t spend a lot of time in kitchens in those days, and I had zero interest in the limited view from someone else’s culinary fenestration. (I’ve waited years to link those two words together!) With the impatience of youth, I once declared to my own dear wife, in the middle of such a talk, “Marg, I love you. But if you ever do a ‘preach’ on what you see from your kitchen window, I’m leaving!”
Well, the passing of the years has a way of mellowing a man, and this article is about what I can see from my kitchen window. (As I write, my wife is smiling benignly–or is it a smirk? Now, who’s being cynical?) But let me explain. We live near to the Eaton Canyon Nature Reserve in Pasadena. This means that we are visited by a veritable zoo of different animals. In the last two years in our own backyard we have had close encounters of the very smelly kind with numerous skunks, regular visits from a coyote who likes to sit under our shade tree in the early morning, several meetings with a family of possums, and bird songs galore.
But our favorite visitors are two doves who are utterly devoted to each other. You never see one without the other. And, this being springtime, they have built their nest outside our kitchen window! When I say “outside our kitchen window,” I mean in a bush no more than six inches away, so I can see all that is happening in close detail.
I watched with fascination as they made the nest together. The male bird would fly off, find the right sized twig, fly back to the nest, stand on the back of the female bird, drop the twig in front of her and she would then put it carefully in place. (Who taught those birds to do that? You can put it down to “instinct,” but I want to know how they came by that instinct. It isn’t always easy to be a believer, but it’s a whole lot more difficult to be an atheist!)
And now there are two or three eggs in the nest. I’ve seen them only a couple of times when the female bird changes her position. Well, it must be uncomfortable sitting on twigs all day, even for a bird! Never did any mother give more attention to her unborn child than this dove. Call me old-fashioned, sentimental, (but not middle-aged), but I am profoundly moved by the whole thing. There is a wonder about the recurring cycle of life and death, birth and growth, youth and maturity; a miraculous life force that can manifest itself in a mighty weather system, a charging herd of elephants, a newborn baby, or a bird sitting on her eggs six inches from my kitchen window.
As a Christian, of course, I believe this life force is but one expression of the energy and love of a caring Heavenly Father. That divine energy and love are seen in the natural realm, but they are certainly not confined by it. Indeed, the truth of Easter is that God is so filled with life and love that even death itself has been conquered.
Just outside my kitchen window, God has written a personal and intimate note to me saying, “Here is a glimpse of my infinite love and life in the shape of a family of doves.” Two thousand years ago, just outside of Jerusalem, God sent a message to the whole world declaring, “Here is all of my infinite love and life in the resurrection of my Son.” One day, when this world has passed away, he will make his ultimate statement in the resurrection of the redeemed. It will be wonderful beyond words. Meanwhile, I’ll keep looking out of my window.