One Old Saying

My mother used to have an old saying, “You can’t keep a bird from flying over your head, but you can keep it from building a nest in your hair.” 

I haven’t given that much thought until I heard the pastor say those exact same words one Sunday morning while preaching.  For all you ministers and Sunday school teachers out there, some people do pay attention during service.   And of course the wheels in my mind got to turning over an interpretation of the saying.

We can’t control what other people say or do, not even our children.  But we can still love them, care for them and pray for them.  Not to long ago on my way to work a car pulled out in front of me. I didn’t have to slam on my brakes but I did have to slow down.  My first thought was, “You stupid idiot!” Then before I got to work it happened a couple of more times that same morning.  My thought before I got to work was, “What? Am I driving an invisible car?” But then I tried to put myself in their shoes just for a moment.  Maybe they were on their way to the hospital. Maybe they were late for work for the hundredth time and the next one would cost them their job.  Maybe they were just having a bad morning. 

You and I both know there are solutions to every ‘Maybe’ I mentioned.  But if we had a genie in a bottle would our wish be another insult to add to their misery?  I’ve always heard it said, ‘Misery loves company’.  So I did something for that first car that pulled out in front of me, and the others, as well. After I called them a stupid idiot of course.  I pointed my finger at them and said, “Hope you have a great and wonderful day.”  Yep, I said a prayer for them.

Many people would curse and swear at them, probably give them what I call a one-finger-salute then carry that burdensome grudge into their workplace.  Before you know it the day is gone and you’ve had a miserable day simply because you let someone else get beside you.  Since you had such a miserable day at work and because one, two or three people cut you off in traffic now you go home and you continue to carry that burden into a place that should be a place of comfort and love.  Instead it too becomes a battle zone between spouses and/or children.

How did it occur? Because when a bird flew over our head we let it build a nest in our hair.  When something happened that we couldn’t control that affected us in some miniscule way we let it grow within us.  How do you get things to grow? We feed them. All day we fed that anger and eventually let it control us. And as it grew it spread onto others. 

 I don’t know if C.S. Lewis or Martin Luther is the one actually credited for the originality of the old saying but I never met either of them but I knew my mother. And she, not C.S. Lewis or Martin Luther, was the influence on teaching me this priceless lesson. Who are we going to teach and be an influence to?

 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. (Prov. 16:32) 

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. lin
    Aug 17, 2010 @ 18:21:41

    I like this story.


  2. weight loss calculator
    Sep 14, 2010 @ 05:41:37

    trying to follow you on twitter but cant find your name


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