I’ve had a new experience this week in Kyrgyzstan. It was a warm, Spring evening; the sun shone brightly. It was hot if directly in it’s rays but cool beneath the shade of the large oak trees that stand, grand and majestic, in the city center parks. It was to be an evening with friends in a local cafe. Then, abruptly, and only for a second of time, the calm evening was torn apart by a thunderous blast. It’s booming intensity shook walls and through the ground, a sharp vibration shot through my legs.
I jumped up as did every other person in the vicinity and peered along with them toward the direction of the blast. Police were swarming, roads were blocked, yellow tape marked out the area to be untouched by all except appropriate officials. Very soon a bomb squad appeared; men with thick helmets and padded vests roamed the area just fifty yards from where we stood looking.
I glanced around at frozen faces, staring eyes, occasional whispers of speculation at what had just happened. Then, I don’t know why, but I looked up toward the tree tops. The evening sun was still shining through bright, green leaves peeking between branches; it’s presence known by strips of fading light along the ground and sidewalks. A bird was preening itself.
It was the bird that held my attention. Surely it had flown off with the bomb blast, but if it most certainly did, it had just as quickly returned, apparently unperturbed by what was happening below. I found this amazing. I glanced at ground level once more. Police were busy taking care of the matter at hand. I glanced up at the bird. It was sitting calmly as if purposefully taking in the last of evening’s sunlight.
I thought about life then. We all have “ground zero” experiences, some worse than others, but all difficult. We have to pay attention to what’s around us. We can’t hide from it. Life’s troubles are there, staring us in the face and we must handle it. I was still amazed about the bird. It had to have flown off when the blast occurred. It did what it had to do to deal with the trouble at hand. Then it came back – to what? It came back to it’s life in the treetops and carried on with it’s bird life, doing what birds do.
Words from Philippians 3:13-14 came to mind, “…I focus on this one thing:Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Jesus Christ, is calling us.”
We all have a race to run. There will be bomb scares along the track but let’s not let that hold us back. We go through it or around it but we continue running. We look forward and we put one foot in front of the other. Standing still, trapped in the debris, must not be an option. Like the bird, aware of it’s Creator, preening peacefully above the troubles, we too are aware of our Father, who gives everything we need to run, run, run, successfully and peacefully, crossing the finish line.