Appreciating Different Styles


One of the greatest joys Nadine and I have is coming up to our little retreat and gaining spiritual, emotional and physical retreat.  We pull away as often as we can to enjoy the pleasures of the mountain air.  This weekend it has rained every day so not only do we get the coolness of the environment but the smells that come during and after the rains.  This morning we have been sitting out on our deck, drinking coffee with our Cavalier King Charles, but I have begun to observe the way the chickadees, the black throat sparrow, and the hummingbirds come to the feeder to eat.

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There are some who come to the feeder and just get one seed and leave.  They take the seed to a ponderosa tree limb and sit there enjoying their new-found seed.  Once they have eaten it they come and get another seed, doing the same thing with it.

There are a couple of chickadees that love to come to the bird feeder and hang upside down.  They aren’t hungry, but hang on the side of the bottom of the feeder and look upside down, as if they were doing an acrobatics trick for us.  After a bit they leave without taking any seeds.  They woodpeckers do the same thing, except they put all their body on the bottom of the feeder with their heads above the bottom and take seeds in this awkward way.  They are so big that they can’t stand on the feeder like the other birds  and eat.

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There are some who are very shy and go from one limb to another limb, inching closer to the feeder, with the last step going onto the roof before jumping onto the feeder.  They are very cautious and can be spooked very easily.  They usually get one or two seeds and fly away.

There are others that have no shyness at all and fly right to the feeder and sit.  And sit.  And sit.  They are hungry and care less whether any other bird or person or dog is around.  They want their food and won’t leave until they get their fill.

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As for the hummingbirds, some come to the red delicious nectar and get its fill all the while flying in mid-air.  Others come to the feeder and sit and drink and drink and drink.

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It’s only as you take time to sit and observe that differences begin to emerge in their eating habits.  This experience began to give me some insight as to what happens with people.  There are so many different ways in which people live and move and pattern their lives.  Some are very shy, while others are very assertive.  Some have very conservative views of living while others make choices that would cause some to criticize or ridicule.

We may not pattern our lives with those we are critical of, but wouldn’t it be a better place if we were to live our lives like these birds?  They have all different kind of eating patterns, but are respectful of other birds who don’t eat the same as they do.

It reminds me of Jesus when He was criticized for eating with the tax collectors and sinners.  The conservatives were critical how He accepted and loved everyone with no strings attached.  How different it might be if Republicans and Democrats could apply this principle to running our government.  I guess that is wishful thinking.

On this journey we have the opportunity to turn our criticism of others into appreciating them as one of the family of God’s creation.  Let the birds of today begin to impact your perspective of how you fly in this world.

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About James Gorton

I am happily married to Nadine, a person I've known for 20+ years. She and her late husband owned Airpark Auto Service where I took my car for years. Four years after my wife died we began dating and the rest is history. We have a blended family of 6 children between us and love visiting them across this country. We recently had our third grandchild between us. We love to hike, bike and ski. I am a psychologist and do relational life coaching for marriages and families primarily. I love what I do and never get tired of seeing marriages and families move to more healthy places in their lives. Five years ago my oldest daughter Deborah encouraged me to begin writing my thought into a blog I call my Jlog (Jim's log). I have become more and more passionate in connecting everyday experiences to spiritual truths. I hope that as you read my Jlog, you will gain insight into your personal life and experience true growth in your personal and relational life.
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