Poor Petey is stressed.
He is in the midst of a six-week molting season and he's miserable. He sits trembling on his manzanita twig, fluffing what feathers he has left and periodically peering out of the cage with one black beady eye. He has obvious bald patches on his belly and shoulders and with each fluff of his wings, more yellow feathers flutter out of his cage and to the floor. He still has a hearty appetite and can regularly be found sitting in his food dish picking through his seed. It would appear that flax seed, oatmeal, broccoli and wheat bread are his only actual comforts in life. He periodically will plop into his bird bath for a quick soak, but even that simple task seems to be exhausting to him. He is skittish and frightened. Someone simply walking past his cage prompts him to hurl himself to the furthest corner of his cage. It's pathetic.
The absolute worst part of this re-feathering season, however, is that he has apparently forgotten how to sing. My sweet little friend who typically serenades me as I wash dishes now sits silently on his perch, eyes closed and head tucked.
A song-less canary fluffing his featherless-ness and quivering. So sad.
According to all the websites I've explored, this is a natural part of a bird's life. It might be inevitable, but that doesn't make it any easier. On Petey or me. I can't wait for this stress-filled season to be behind us.
Like Petey, we also face the inevitability of stress in our lives. And like Petey, that stress often presents itself in a variety of ways.
What do you do when you are stressed?
Do you stuff it in or let it explode?
Do you go for a run or run to food?
Do you chew out your kids or chew on your nails?
Do you get quiet and withdraw or do you get vocal and expressive?
Do you search high and low for a quick fix or do you settle in and wallow?
In all honesty, I am a stuff-it-in, stress-eating, kid-chewing, withdrawn wallower.
Stress in my life seems to come and go in seasons, too. I find that stressful times typically are the result of too many demands and not enough time, energy or inspiration to manage it all. I can get so focused on the pesky and stressful aspects of my life (no names, please ... ) that I lose sight of the good and lovely aspects of my life (Aaron, Norah, Ashley, Lydia, Brett, Jesus ... ).
In the midst of a stressful episode, I find myself wishing for a giant bowl of chocolate to sit in and eat from, desiring to fluff myself up and hide my head under the covers and flee from anyone else who might possible need something from me.
I also would admit that when I am stressed, I forget to sing. This is certainly one of the worst parts of stress.
In the Bible, Jesus tells us that one of our jobs is to sing praises to God. It's not only a job, however, but a privilege. Jesus goes on to say in Luke 19:39-41, that if we choose not to sing praises to God, that the stones of the earth will cry out instead.
How often have I allowed daily stresses to steal my privilege to sing?
How often have I let my inevitable stress rob me of the joy of praising God?
And how often have I missed out on the miracle of having my perspective changed through praise?
I know that poor Petey can't help his predicament. In a few weeks, he'll find himself re-feathered and ready to sing. I, however, have a daily choice. I can choose to stuff it in, eat my way through it, chew on a few kids and withdraw into silence. Or ...
I can choose to praise.