Humility makes a man learn God from nature and love makes him learn the nature of God from all things created. It’s a beautiful sweetness. Like a beautiful bird’s tale.
Two little birds kept showing up on the balcony where my husband and I live. They would come, land on the grills, suss out the space, have a little chat.. and leave. Day after day. I thought how lovely it would be to have birds around, my husband was of the same mind. One day, during one of their visits, I said to them, “you’re welcome, don’t run away.” They – apparently – had no plans to do anything of the sort, because soon we started to find stalks of grass on the floor near and in a little corner above our balcony door. Evidence that the little birds were determined to settle in. Now, the area we live in is very windy, so all their diligent efforts to gather and build were an effort in futility, and one day, we thought they had given up and gone away. So we cleaned up and moved on with our lives.
Then they showed up the next day to try again. The thought came to us, ‘why not build them some kind of base that they can then build upon?’ But when they disappeared, we let it go. When they returned to continue their futile efforts, one morning I turned on the laptop and found on the screen a photo of a man-made wooden bird house with two birds nesting in it. I said to my husband, “I think we need to help them.” So he modified and put up the smallest carton box we had and secured it. We sprinkled their little grasses in the nook we had prepared for them and waited to see what would happen. Sure enough, the little birds came back and started to build, delighted to have the perfect space for the two of them. Funny thing is, they didn’t use the nook we had created, they built above the box, just under the door jamb in a tiny little corner. Soon enough they were settling down and so – as was only befitting – I gave our tiny little neighbors a name, The Prakchus, after the sound of their cute, melodious, trilling. All was well with the world.
We started to keep the balcony door shut more often, in order to help them get used to their new neighbors (us) and to help them get on with the business of nesting; only popping out now and again to put up or take down our laundry. Things appeared to be going really well. Then one day, there was a loud noise of angry birds chirping outside the door, we wondered, “Are the little Prackchus having a fight or what?” We didn’t check though, you see… we didn’t want to be rude.
The next day, I noticed a slightly bigger bird, a brown guy, much more stout than the delicate two. He was hanging around and strutting and shouting and seemed to be exerting some form of dominance, and I wondered “… has this big guy come to take over the nest?” Mr. and Mrs. Prakchu were nowhere in sight and the happy little noises from the nest had ceased. “Hmm…” I said to myself, that’s when I noticed small pieces of grass scattered on the balcony floor… and one tiny egg on the corner, with a gaping hole in one end. “Oh no!!” I said, in horror, watching as the ever-efficient ant clean-up crew marched in and out of the shell, faithfully gathering what they needed to feed their colony. It was then I realized that if only we had opened the door, we could have prevented this disaster. I was so heartbroken.
But the beloved Prakchus, bless them, they stayed put and they tried again. This time, we stood by them like soldiers, constantly shooing away the Bigoos (Mr. Bigoo had come with his wife and friends). And for a while, we made some headway. As long as we were in the house when the Bigoos came by, we would chase them away and gain the little Prakchus some peace. The little Prakchus actually got to a point of confidence, not flying off when we had the door open, as if they knew that they had protection. We gave them grain and water, so they wouldn’t have to travel too far from their nest, in order to make things a little easier on them. Though, that probably made things worse for them because of their envious enemies. Then, while we were away for a short trip, the Bigoos launched another deadly attack and when we came back, we found another tiny little egg cracked and broken on the ledge of the balcony. This time the ants had clearly already finished their business, meaning that the devastation probably took place shortly after we had left. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I didn’t understand the viciousness and aggression that was taking place.
For a time, it seemed as though The Prakchus had thrown in the towel in the face of such devastation. I didn’t hear them sing or see them flying in or out. I thought that maybe the intimidation of the Bigoos got to them. The nest was silent for a long while. But, one day, just as I was reaching out my hand, to dismantle their ‘deluxe apartment in the sky’, one little bird flew out in alarm. I stayed my hand and waited, because clearly God wasn’t done yet. Over the following few days, the resilient little birds continued their activities. Things seemed to have settled down, and apart from a few incursions by the Bigoos, which we quickly challenged, things were pretty uneventful.
Then we travelled once again, this time for two weeks. Upon our return we found the kind of dirt one would expect in the windy neighborhood we live in. You know, spiders attempting to colonize the house with their webs, dirt on the floor. Then we spotted some thick, black splotches around the balcony doorway and wondered if the little birds had been afraid to stray too far from the nest and had resorted to leaving their droppings nearby. A closer look, however, revealed the worst. A fierce battle had taken place in our absence. Three little dead baby birds, upon our doorstep. No more sweet songs of melodies pure and clear. Every little thing was definitely NOT alright. In the face of such hopelessness, SURELY the fight was over. But no. These plucky little Prakchus were still around, still doing something, still persisting. I have never seen anything like it. They just picked up and keep going, even in the face of great evil and loss: five members of their little family, gone. Eventually, though, they did choose to relocate, popping by weeks later to check if they could rebuild. I took down their nest though. The pain was enough.
God allowed this drama to take place on our small balcony in order for us to get a bigger message. This is part of what I learnt.
The story of The Prakchus and The Bigoos is simply a modern-day metaphor for the condition the world is in. The big and the strong and the evil just won’t let their brothers have a bit of peace to build and enjoy their lot in life. They have decided that one way or another they must, despite having their own thing going, try and claim what is their brothers’ for themselves and dominate all, at the expense of the innocent. It’s a story that began before time, when iniquity was found in one, who was then cast down to destroy what God had built. He began with the Fall of man in the Garden in order to create a portal that unleashed an evil upon the world that persists, and that is constantly seeking out opportunity for the defilement, destruction and death of whatever God is doing and building. It is the authority that both Eve and Adam gave to the serpent, that allowed for everything under their watch and care to be completely corrupted in their very nature. Including mankind. A brutish, vicious, territorial nature took over, redeemable only by the Blood of the Last Adam and effected through the righteous interventions of His Saints.
Such interventions come when the righteous stand in their places as provided for by Christ Jesus, willing to do whatever God wants to ensure that God’s Kingdom comes and His will is done on earth as it is in Heaven. No matter what. But when they are unwilling to do their share, then things will, inevitably, take a turn for the worst. Sometimes what is required from them involves the possibility of facing great loss and finding the mettle to push through and begin again and again… and yet again… that the cost of not beating back the darkness is even worse. That’s why the Cross. That’s why the us. God’s great army upon the earth.
This is a lesson for Afrika. The Afrika which has been so blessed with all that God can give a continent but which still lives in the limitations of her own wrong choices and selfish patterns. To come out of this malady that Afrika has found herself, we must ask ourselves, have we been our brothers’ keepers, have we watched over the weak when we find ourselves in the place of strength, have we given all it takes for everyone to thrive in peace and not one man taking it all for selfish reasons, have we allowed God be the true center of our lives and common unity? The emancipation of Afrika lies in the accurate answer to these questions. There is not much time left.