Bird TV

I face another death. It has not happened yet, but it has become inevitable={.

I have a HUGE rhododendron at the front of the house. It may be as old as the house, which would make it nearly 40 years old. It has been trimmed back several times, but I have kept it large to obscure seeing into the downstairs and to be a roosting place for the myriad of birds that feed at the feeder I have suctioned to the bay window above the rhodo.

Because the birds & squirrels love to hang out in the rhodo directly in front of a large picture window my dear friend Karen, a frequent house sitter, has dubbed that view “Bird TV.” Most any time of year it is a wonderful place to sit and watch the birds and squirrels come and go.  In the winter it is a great treat to light a fire in the downstairs fireplace, curl up on the couch with a blanket and watch Bird TV.

A Cardinal posing on "Bird TV"

A Cardinal makes an appearance on “Bird TV”

Our frequent guests on the show are titmouses, nuthatches, gold and house finch, downy and red-bellied woodpeckers, lots of chickadees and my favorites, the cardinals. The squirrels are a pain. When the rhodo grows too tall, they like to climb up and attempt to jump onto the bird feeder. Some years ago I even broke a small window pane by the feeder throwing something at the window upstairs attempting to scare a squirrel away who was thoroughly comfortable hogging the feeder as he stuffed his face.

The hours of delight others and I have enjoyed watching my low maintenance pets are immeasurable and unforgettable.

Today, I was discussing with landscapers how to improve the “curb appeal” of my yard. We began with the front walk way, the grass and wound our way around to the Rhododendron. It really is monstrous. It blocks the view of the house, quite unevenly and shades where grass might grow if it was not shaded…. You see, due to years of not caring properly for our lawn it now has become multiple shades of green and brown where various forms of moss have grown unimpeded for over 15 years choking out the last vestiges of grass. I believe I will be selling the house in a year or two, so I am hoping to increase the value of the house with some much-needed attention to its appearance.

My heart tugged as the landscapers pointed out how easy it would be to yank out the rhodo and replace it with little plants. After they left I cried. Yes, I outright bawled as I thought of the demise of Bird TV. It is another thing I have to lose. Well, I guess I don’t HAVE to take out the rhodo, but I know he is right. The house will bring more money if I pull it out with most of the rest of the plantings.

Since I have not been very good at letting myself feel, I mean allowing myself to feel pain in my life, I decided to FEEL. I texted Kathryn & Karen because I know they understand my love of Bird TV. Texting is not very satisfying when facing crossroads in life. I mean, I wanted a hug; I wanted to shout “WHY GOD? WHY Bird TV too???” But I knew it is just more of letting go of the life that was. The birds will adapt and so will I. The squirrels will finally be completely vanquished. I can take real solace in that!

I wondered if the birds will be gone after their spectacular stage is eliminated, but I know they are too greedy for the food in the feeder and too well-trained to leave for long. They will quickly adapt, perching below the lower window and still use the other trees farther away in the yard to rest and wait for their turn. And I cry.

So many of my hopes and dreams have been shattered over the last two and a half years. If I did not have my relationship with God and His faithful friends who have held me up and pulled me through, I might well have been pickled in alcohol or in a psych ward long ago. But I’m not pickled in alcohol or in a psych ward because Abba knows me. He knows what and whom I need. Mostly, I need Him. He has promised to never leave me or forsake me and he has proven Himself more than faithful over 38 years of walking this adventure with Him.

The rhodo is a miniscule thing in the grand scheme of my life, but it cries out “forget the former things, do you not perceive it? Behold, I am doing a new thing.” And when I think of my son in Afghanistan I really know how petty I can be.

And yet, it hurts. Letting go hurts. I feel as if I have been letting go so much. It is a wonder to me that I finally agonizingly released a marriage of nearly three decades to reach for freedom and begin to breathe, and then when faced with losing Bird TV I crumble in a way I have not crumbled in months… sobbing on and off all day.

It can be scary to go forward, not knowing where my promised land is, or letting go of such a simple delight as Bird TV. It is one more loss, but this life is lost. This is not what is real. God and His kingdom are real. So I release Bird TV. I want what God has for me. He has promised to give me Him, and I know that is enough…on many levels. He lets me feel the loss so I can long for Him, for His kingdom

Some will say I am over spiritualizing. I know the sadness I feel, and when I feel it, I do begin to long for more. I want significance and beauty and love and hope. I long to have every breath be deep and richly satisfying.

I come full round again. Thank you Abba for the years of Bird TV. Thank you for the authentic joy and peace it has helped to foster in me as I watched your beautiful and crafty creatures. Thank you for the longing you have placed in me that rises up at the thought of the loss. I choose you Abba. Thank you for choosing me.


P.S. My Son returned safely from Afghanistan on 6/29/2013. Bird TV is still here, but it will likely be gone before Labor Day.

Andrea (Madden) Van Boven : I like to think I am a radical lover of Jesus, but I live in a house and pay bills and look like I fit in with respectable society, like most people. What goes on in my head and heart are hopefully the things that betray the look of "normal" that comes at first glance. I hope those things inside of me seep out to actions as well as words of hope and encouragement. I pray that these in turn will lead others to know the loving creator who knows us so intimately that he has a number for every hair on every head.

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21 thoughts on “Bird TV

  1. Warm and inspiring. Thanks for sharing a bit of your heart despite the pain. Glad I’ve seen the location of bird TV although not many birds were there when I saw it. Prayed for you, my friend..

    • Thanks M! It was a blessing to have you here. I trust your club is going well this week. you are in my prayers=}

      • Dear Andrea,
        thanks for being authentic with us by sharing your vulnerability and emotions. May the tears of the evening be a sign of laughter in the morning (laughter after the “mourning” too…). I do love nature too and understand.
        It’s so great to know that He is there with you and for you
        Much love

  2. God so uproots us like the Rhody! Thanks for sharing the grieving and how we do grieve wonderful things in our lives that somehow get uprooted. May good grass grow under your feet! May God use even this….to make space for your freedom.

  3. My dear friend, your story is lovely. I know there are times when we go into black and white thinking, all or nothing, yes or no…and in reading about Bird TV, I just wondered if there isn’t a way to have both an open face to the house, And Birds in the window?…design (or have designed) a fabulous trellis to hold bird feeders, some vines and flowers, which can stay with the house or move with you when you go. Spirit encourages us to find creative ways to be joyful all the time…this one came to me as I read your blog.
    Sure wish we were closer,
    but here’s a hug, nevertheless

    • Thank you my dear friend! I like your trellis idea=}. I have greatly adjusted since April. We should talk sometime=}…..

  4. May our Lord God in Heaven supply each and every, all, lacking nothing, giving you all things because He has immeasurable riches in Christ He gives and takes…may you find Him as you cling to Life…for every part of you. In love we plant, in love we water and in love we share in the harvest…we prune and give…seems up-side-down….but …..”after the night”…He promises JOY …Thanks for sharing Andrea…thanks for letting us feel your heart as well….reminds me of the “Naked” juices that are now in the market…they are the “naked” fruits with NO additives…and they bring awesome nutrition for those who partake! Garden Living.

  5. Bird TV is one of my favorite! Perhaps you could replace it w a Rose of Sharon or some other variety that attracts humming birds. Either way I believe Bird TV will be w you in some form or fashion…

    • Thanks Ken!
      I’ve come to see the birds will not go, and that I need to move forward in many ways. This is one.

  6. Okay, Andrea, you shouldn’t be too surprised that my first reaction was to try to save Bird TV. I pray that I will grow to be like you in the ability to let go.
    I so relate to your love of watching those little flyers. They have so ministered to me over the years. Anyway. Bless you as you allow Jesus to be more and more present in and through you.


    • Thank you Lois! I know you have had to let go & let God too! Thank God He gives us the grace we need….

    • Thanks Lois! I really like the look without it. I am still adjusting, am quite encouraged to move ahead!