Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bird Feeders: An allegory for Society

As I stand with my back door wide open filling my bird feeders one at a time and refilling the bird bath, I am struck by the image of all the birds fleeing for safety as I opened the door. You would think that after some 5 years of providing feed for my feathered friends that we would have a more trusting relationship. After all, I am the one sacrificing my hard earned money to provide them with a source of food and unfrozen water. But in the end, they are only here to take my food and drink my water with no intent on friending me.

Now do not get me wrong, I do enjoy seeing all of my feathered visitors filling my feeders every day. It is a wondrous sight to behold. And over the years, I have gotten to see some birds that I am sure that I would have never seen with out the feeders. But still, in the end I am no more than a free meal.

As I thought on this, while filling the feeders, it reminded me of people and the issues we have in our society today. With our down turn in the economy and the slow recover their are many people who have been forced to depend on others for assistance whether it be the government or family or a neighbor. For those parties who have the ability to help it feels good to see others be blessed by what we have and we hope that some how these people will be blessed. When these people become frequent visitors it is easy to believe that they have also become our friends. (and this does not just pertain to the needy but to customers, students, parents, patients, doctors, or any other place where we can become regulars!) But in the end we are all just like the birds at my feeders. Once we get what we need we fly off to be with our own family and our own friends. As the old proverb from the 16th century taught us "Birds of a feather , flock together."

So in the end if just because you request the same waiter, always use the same hair stylist, have had the same doctor for years, or have helped the family down the street through a hard time do not expect them to leave their flock to join yours. After all, would you leave yours so easily?

In the end I will have to be content with the fact that my feathered friends are fat and happy on this cold winter day!

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