Saturday, September 6, 2014

From My Nature Journal: The LBJ...

An LBJ… That’s a phrase birders use to refer to any nondescript little bird they cannot identify, or choose not to for the trouble of it. An LBJ is a ‘little brown job,’ generally a sparrow of some sort. One hardly has to pay attention to spot them. They’re ubiquitous, everywhere. Some folks call them LGB’s, ‘little gray birds,’ but the birders I have known prefer LBJ.

In walking through a natural area just now, I picked up a little grey-brown feather actually floating down through the air from some passing little brown job. I could never begin to make identification at this point. The bird is long gone. What’s left is just an indistinct little feather from some indistinct little bird.

But nondescript? I look closely and find it quite lovely. It’s
only about three and a half inches in length, soft-white shaft, soft grey-brown hairs.

Nondescript? In what way? The closer I look the more astonishingly beautiful it becomes. The shaft is not all soft-white, nor the hairs all soft grey-brown, but of differing hues; even the individual hairs are multi-colored. And there are hundreds and hundreds of those soft hairs, starting so minusculely small I cannot see them with my naked eye, then gradually getting longer until they are about three eights of an inch at their longest on the one side, but then shorter again, somehow tapered toward the top in such a way as to leave an impression of a rounded tip. (How does it do that?)

Nondescript? In what way? The 
closer I look the more astonishingly 
beautiful it becomes...

Nondescript? Hardly! I imagine if I held this feather under a microscope, I would be even all the more thoroughly amazed by its complexity. And this from just one indistinct feather from what many consider an insignificant little bird!

Lord, I am an LBJ, self-confessed, in fact a card-carrying member of the club! I struggle at times to know my own significance in this world, in my current ministry call, in what You seem to be calling me to. But Lord, You know what?
can sing my little heart out for You, too. I can sing it from the top of my little insignificant lungs. I can add my voice to the praises You hear from Your hills (from whence my Help comes), or from Your trees (that clap their hands), even from Your very stones (as they cry out Your praise), let alone the praises of Your people! Yes, I am a little brown job… For even in my insignificance, You do Your astonishingly beautiful work.

                                                   I am Your workmanship.

Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest, at Your altar, O lord of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in Your house, ever singing Your praise! (Psalm 84:3-4)
~~RGM, From an earlier journal entry,
Adapted for my blog September 6, 2014

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