The bird at the feeder

My husband and younger son hung a bird feeder off the side of our shed days ago. Then we waited.

The robins pulled worms out of the yard.

The cardinals hopped along the edge of our deck.

The sparrows flitted all over the place.

But none of them would go to the bird feeder.

“Just wait,” I told our son. I reminded him how the last time we filled a bird feeder, it took time. One of my friends who knows birds told me then that it can take a surprising amount of time for the birds to find the food—even though it’s sitting right there waiting for them.

So, we’ve waited. We’ve watched. And the bird feeder has hung there, full of seeds no one was eating.

My husband dropped a few below the feeder, trying to entice the birds to come near. But it seemed that only brought the cheeky squirrels who already think they own the yard.

Where were the birds? When would they find our food?

Then yesterday, as we were finishing a meal together, my husband glanced through the window and spotted a tiny red bird on the feeder. We think he was a cardinal, but we couldn’t get close enough to see. But we were all excited, rushing from window to window, trying to get a better view.

Now that one bird has found the food, we are sure others will follow.

During these final days of Lent, we can be a little lost and easily distracted. That seems especially true during this quarantine time, with all the worries and responsibilities that come with it. We long to grow in our relationship with Him, but it’s easy to be flitting around, not focusing on Him when there are so many things clamoring for our attention. Our minds are full of so much right now.

In this moment, with all the needs of family and friends and ourselves, perhaps we can barely manage one more reminder to seek time with Jesus. But we hunger for Him. And He will be there, waiting patiently for us, when we are ready and able to find our way to Him. Just like that little red bird, who finally made its way to the feeder.

Now that he’s found it once, we know he’ll find it again. And he’ll bring his friends.

Jesus is waiting for us, too. And He will feed us in ways we don’t expect—even without the Eucharist—if we make our way to Him today.

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.