A few weeks ago, while aimlessly scrolling my Facebook feed, procrastinating to keep from doing a chore at hand, my attention was caught on a story and a picture of a buzzard.
You know buzzards are scary-looking creatures. A buzzard, in my mind, is like the grim reaper, except with wings and a big beak. You know I am right – wherever you see a buzzard lurking about, there is usually something dead or about to die or vulnerable to an attack.
With their shiny black feathers and their beady-looking eyes, vultures, as buzzards are also called, seem to feed off of, if you will pardon the pun, the bad stuff.
Apparently, not this buzzard.
My sweet friend in east Texas – a mother figure to many of us ‘lost souls’ who wandered through the town – wrote of a friend of hers who was very sick with the coronavirus (COVID-19). She was asking for prayer, but then she shared something that was odd. According to Mrs. M, her friend reported that a buzzard had been visiting their house since she got sick – in whatever room she was in, the buzzard showed up at the window or flew all over the house.
That doesn’t sound good, right?
But Mrs. M’s friend got better. Yet, the buzzard stayed. According to reports, he flies over the house daily, sits on top of the fireplace and whenever the residents of the home are there, he is close by on the windowsills of whatever room they are in. According to Mrs. M’s friend, they feed him – raw hamburger which he thoroughly enjoys, and chat with him.
And he even got a name – Barney.
That story just resonated with me for a lot of reasons.
We all face adversity – be it from an illness, financial crisis, natural disaster, death of a loved one, unemployment or some out of this world, unexpected thing – it happens.
Adversity, or as I like to call it, the yucky stuff, can come even in every day ordinary things – car messes up, fail a test at school, miss an opportunity a work, forget your loved one’s birthday, break up with a friend or a boyfriend/girlfriend, lose your class ring and so on and so on.
Oh, I hate cliches, but I am about to use one. Adversity is just as expected in life as joy or happiness or contentment are.
And here is another overused cliche – I am not a fan – ‘it is what it is.’
So what do we do about it?
Old Barney is a prime example of how to resolve to overcome those toxic or negative or adverse challenges in life – you face them head on. You befriend them. You welcome them.
Yes, I said, welcome them. (And yes, I know, I am one to talk – Ms. Anxious Annie, Nervous Nelly, Worrisome Wanda)
See, I am going to let you in on a little secret. Stuff happens. We can’t stop. We can’t go backwards. We can’t go sideways. We have to keep going forward – even if it is on our hands and knees as slow as a sloth moving across a road – we move forward.
And how do we do that? You take a moment. You get your focus on. You let yourself feel the feelings that need to be felt (despair, depression, sadness, anger, melancholy, happiness, joy, confusion, contentment, peace). Also, there is a vital key to being an overcoming that a lot of people forget acceptance. You have to accept what is going on around you, inside of you, and deal with the reality of it before you can move forward.
The acceptance thing is the hardest part for me – because of plans I have, and dreams I make.
There is another important key that a lot of us have forgotten, or we just throw it around like a dog throws an old bone or a child throws an old toy on a closet shelf – our relationship with God.
Yes, I said it – God and your relationship with Him. As you strive to walk daily in life as good as you can, you gotta know there are potholes and invisible lines in the sidewalk that are going to trip you up. So who’s going to be there to catch you or hold your hand, or make your path clearer? The one who created it. The one who created all of the world. The one who created you – God.
Don’t why we try to deny Him or ignore Him or do life by ourselves. There are so many facts that show with God, we are better than we ever could be – even during the black hole moments we have in life.
So before you start making plans, or even praying and demanding things of Him, realize this – this life, your life, this moment, ain’t about you. What you have right now, ain’t because of anything you did. No matter how much you try to rationalize it or make excuses or analyze it, you know it is true.
Your Big Mama or Granddaddy or your parents took you to church as a kid or you heard about church in the community or participated in a summer Vacation Bible School – even atheists that I have met have told me that. You can search Google.
For everything you have ever experienced in your life, there is someone in the Bible who has been there, done that and then some, and got four t-shirts. Face it, there is no reason to run from Him. See, there is a saying – I am not sure where it came from originally – but I know it from a plaque that a relative bought on an overseas trip to Scotland, I think I heard, or maybe Ireland. ‘Bidden or not bidden, God is present.”
Let me break it down one more time in modern day speak, ‘Invited or not invited, God is here, there and everywhere.’ So why front? Give in to Him, and just maybe, he will make your adverse situation a ‘Barney’ in your life.
PS That is Barney pictured above.