Have you ever cared for an elderly parent ?
It is a particularly tender time.
In my mom’s 88th year, my brother and I realized that she could no longer safely live by herself in her house that she loved so much.
And so, to enable her to continue to live at home, we took turns living with her and caring for her.
One morning we noticed a mourning dove nesting in a cedar hedge in her garden. The dove was aware of us, and stared at us intently, but she did not move. Instead, she remained perfectly still and calm.
Each morning after that, I went to visit the dove, staying at a respectful distance. We looked at each other, and I recognized clearly from this trusting bird why doves are considered symbols of peace.
After two weeks, the dove was gone ! I approached the nest and saw four little eyes staring at me, in the same calm manner. Mama dove had briefly gone to find food for her babies.
The dove that I’d been watching was actually two doves, since both parents incubate the eggs.
In Matthew 10:16,Jesus tells his followers how they are to conduct themselves in the world. He says :
‘be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves’
The dove part I understand. We are to lead upright lives, and point others to Christ, but a snake, ….yikes, why is this disliked creature mentioned ?
Genesis 3:1 describes the serpent as the ‘craftiest of creatures’.
These creatures are particularly patient, and know how avoid danger. Beyond their five senses they also possess infrared sensors to enable them to detect heat from other creatures.
We need spiritual ‘craftiness’ to negotiate our way in the world. If we rely only on our innocence , we will fall prey to the wicked. The spiritual battle we are in is constant, and we need to be clever, and alert, to protect ourselves and others.
We need the supernatural discernment and wisdom that come only from from the Lord. As we mature in our faith, our spiritual senses sharpen so that we can judge between what genuinely is from God, and what, or who, is not. Hebrews 5:14
Let us continue to pray for the gifts of wisdom and discernment, for these spiritual strengths are necessary for us to further the Kingdom of God. Our Father readily grants wisdom to us, if we ask him for it. ( James 1:5).
My mom continued to live in her lovely home for another four years.
Mourning doves remind me of her.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay