little bit of lagniappe

reflecting on everyday grace

Remedies for the lonely birds

So, I must admit that along with the inevitable excitement for summer and the final sigh after grading 30 exams and 28 final essays, some of the lonely birds silently and unexpectedly swooped into my nesting heart this weekend.  It may seem completely outrageous or just utterly nerdy to feel this way, but at the end of another school year, I  feel a bit down. A part of me feels like a mama bird saying goodbye to her little chicks that will never return to the nest, and for this single lady, I seem to feel it acutely, as so much of my life involves my kiddos and my orbit at school.  I miss my lil’ cherubs, I miss my friends and colleagues, and there’s just a gaping, raw part in my heart that offers, “what now?”

(mama calls this “empty classroom syndrome”…)

And so with the same gaping, raw honesty, I know I must “lean” into these moments, ask God for help, and keep on…

Here are a couple of remedies that presented themselves this weekend…maybe they can be kept in pockets and heart boxes to pull out in any future lonely moment.  Because, friends, there is ALWAYS grace:

1.  The warm embrace of my mama, who knows me better than any human being on this earth.  That coupled with sharing together uncontrollable laughter is the best medicine in the world.

2.  Watching the Braves shut out the Mets on Saturday night with a little help from the pitcher unexpectedly rocking a two-run homer

3.  Celebrating the birthdays of people you love (a.k.a. Mama and Kate Monster!)

4.  Hearing a sermon on Trinity Sunday that offered the memorable image of  “God holding us like a hazelnut”

5.  The gift of a guitar and a desperate voice…AND the hope of guitar lessons this summer (perhaps with a teacher who played with the Indigo Girls, Tuck and Patti, and B.B. King?!?!?!!)

6.  ANY song by the Indigo Girls, whose tunes I’ve been loving and living with since 1992…

but especially these days:  I Believe in Love (sorry, the audio isn’t the best, BUT I recommend seeing them LIVE instead!)

7.  Mary Oliver poetry…yesterday, I dug into her book of poems called Redbird…how about this apple…

I will try

 I will try.
I will step from the house to see what I see
and hear and I will praise it.
I did not come into this world
to be comforted.
I come, like red bird, to sing.
But I’m not red bird, with his head-mop of flame
and the red triangle of his mouth
full of tongue and whistles,
but a woman whose love has vanished
who thinks now, too much, of roots
and the dark places
where everything is simply holding on.
But this too, I believe, is a place
where God is keeping watch
until we rise, and step forth again and–
but wait. Be still. Listen!
Is it red bird? Or something
inside myself, singing?
-Mary Oliver


8.  Eating a freakin’ double angus BEEF burger with good friends at Urban Pl8 and loving it.

9.  Old hymns that evoke sweet harmonies

10.  Sunday lunch with our priest, celebrating friendship, communion, and contemplating God over bowls of Thai curry, thick laughter, and seasoned stories

11.  Realizing that I am not as alone as I think I am

12.  The promise of John 16:33

13.  Welcoming the first taste of morning by being outside in it…watching the sunrise tickle the greens of trees


Tell me, Lord,

how did you plan this day

in all its heartache,

its wonder, its beauty,

its simple silliness,

and make it so

we’d be okay

another day

and want to keep on singing?



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7 thoughts on “Remedies for the lonely birds

  1. so much beauty in this post… and in your writing… and in you, friend. Here is to a summer of stepping out the front door and seeing what we hear. and to hopefully seeing some of each other! Love you lots, friend!

    • Amen, ABC…thank you for your thoughtfulness and encouragement in “stepping out” and embracing the here and now…whatever it brings. Love YOU, friend.

  2. JV on said:

    I hear you! As the year closes, There is joy and anxiety side by side for me as well. We crave the space so much and yet when it’s all around us we can feel swallowed up by it… we’ve become so accustomed to the hurry. Here’s to leaning into the beauty of summer!

  3. J to the V,
    Thank you for affirming these birds and the space that can sometimes seem to “swallow” us (love that). Yes, let’s lean in, friend, and embrace the solace, the space, the time for solitude, and the time for the unplanned… and let be. Thankful for some “lean in” moments with you, too.

  4. Cheryl on said:

    Wow, you put my feelings into words that I didn’t know how to. I felt excitement and dread all last week. I can’t wait to stroll with you one morning and then enjoy breakfast and coffee on our patios! Summer is sweet when you are ready to embrace its possibilities. Love and miss you!

  5. Lady Lass, indeed, my dear, the possibilities of summer that can often been gaping and yet filling at the same time. So thankful for time together last week and look forward to more summer blisssssss. LOVE.

  6. Pingback: Midsummer Musings…with a new set of strings… | little bit of lagniappe

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