Sunday, January 26, 2014

Abundance and Pigeons

Urban parable: The Reign of God is like the flock of pigeons that drops to the street at the sight of any dropped crumb and once they've consumed it, they coo, iridescent in abundance.

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Speaking of abundance and pigeons, there's just oodles of pigeons in Houston. Like grains of sand on the beach or hairs on a Kennedy's head. Lots of them. 

I remember as a child, growing up on the farm, pigeons were rare, exotic even. I remember seeing only a couple as a child and I was enthralled with them. They didn't find much of a welcome on the farm. As they are attracted to buildings, the only place they would have found to roost was our barns and our cats ruled those roosts. So either they moved quickly on or were an exotic dinner for Cricket or Patches or Selina or any number of feline barn-tenders. 

But I had a pigeon feather in my feather collection (yes, I had a very small feather collection---I was selective about which feathers I found and kept). Their puffed up grey bodies and iridescent collars would come to mind whenever I looked at my grey and white feather from that elusive, foreign bird. 

Really, I had no idea they swarmed cities like flying, feathered rats. 

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 The above parable came to me as I watched pigeons on a Houston sidewalk from my seat on the train. I often muse at how ubiquitous they are to me now and how excited I was when I saw on perched on the old barn, some 40 years ago. 

Abundance and scarcity are such relative things. They are so much an attitude of perspective, at least in my fairly easy life. For some people, I know, to live my life would be a hardship. I don't own a TV or a car. I'm always watching every dollar spent and never getting ahead on the debt. I've had maybe 3 or 4 years of my life where I didn't feel that sort of pinch, all of them over 10 years ago. 

But there are so many ways that I'm rich. Just today, I had lunch with friends, got picked up by other friends on my way to an artists' meeting, met with artists to discuss an upcoming show . . . all of that after worshiping in a growing congregation, where I received the sacrament that remains so important to me. 

It's a rich, rich life.

I cannot know your struggles, and I'm not that open about mine all the time. But I invite you to look at what you may think of as crumbs around you and see just how much there is. 

The pigeons make a meal of the crumbs and they always look fat.

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