AS THE regal, iridescent purple martins flew in and out of their colony housing, she pointed and asked through my phone’s translator, “Can I take one home?”
Over the birds’ noisy chatter, I struggled to explain to my young visitor the birds were wild, but my answer didn’t translate well.
“Can I have one, please? We have them in my country.” Her face was filled with the hopeful expectation of a child at Christmas, and my heart melted and ached in the mid- summer sun.
Like my new friend and her family, the purple martins travel here from great distances. We enjoy hosting the birds that return year after year to our property. I’m especially fond of their songs and calls. Their clicks and ticks resemble Morse Code more than birdsong; they’re animated conversations in a foreign language.
“We have them in my country.”
I heard it again and again throughout the day, and I longed to give her the wild bird of her homesick dream.
Our hearts spoke the same language. Her youth may have momentarily blinded her to the source of her homesickness, but I’ve lived longer in a foreign country.
Hebrews 13:14 reminds us this world is not our home. There’s something inside the believer’s heart always longing for home – not the homes of bricks and sticks, but of gold and many rooms, the one our heavenly Father is preparing. We are homesick for a city whose builder and maker is God. (Heb 11:10) But until we cross the threshold into eternity, God, being the good Father He is, gives us little joys and treasures to encourage us as He’s walking us home. He loves giving good gifts to His children.
An online retailer known for having everything an earth-bound body needs just happened to sell a small, stuffed purple martin, complete with authentic birdsong and chatter. Lucky for me, I’m a prime-card- carrying member of the club.
You should have seen her smile as the soft, toy swallow sang its endless song to her homesick heart. I think my homesick heart smiled just as large. -GN
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