Words from a burning heart

by Tim Stouffer

On the roads south this past week the snow disappeared quickly the farther and farther we got into Wisconsin. The barren trees stood sentinel over lines of traveling vehicles. Driving this way was an exercise of patience that gets easier with repetition, easier with practice. It never seems to come second nature to me, though.<BR><BR>A nine or 10 hour drive interrupted by short breaks and a meal is a whole day of doing exactly the same thing while being on full alert for all that is around you. It was interesting to see the fields and grass when I was used to a blanket of white, but after a while the muted earthy tones gave way to boredom. I watched the road fly by underneath. I watched the road. I watched the lines on the road. The other cars.<BR><BR>The thing that tore me away from the mundane, that sharpened my focus was a tall, dark shape perched within the top branches of an old oak we passed. Sideways, it looked like a large hawk, but as we drew closer, I discerned the unmistakable shape of a large owl. A silent, sentry watching the roadside. Keenly perceptive of the smallest of prey out and about in the brown grass of the wayside.<BR><BR>We sped by as I shouted and pointed to Jen and the kids, “owl.” Torn from their own musings and/or sleep they didn’t have time to understand or follow my point. Miles down the road in a strikingly similar tree, I spotted another large owl, high overhead, watching and waiting. Surveying every inch of the ground beneath. <BR><BR>Through the afternoon we traveled and although the physical and mental acts of driving began to nag at me, I once again was rewarded with the sight of a third great gray or horned owl. Perched high in a rough old tree, waiting for his next meal.<BR><BR>As the trip played itself out and we reached our destination in the dark I thought back to the owls and their natural gift of patience. The creator supplied them with their needs so that they could hunt and survive. The three owls to me were not so much a sign from God on my journey, but a reminder that he was with me on the way.<BR><BR>You may find yourself facing an insurmountable task, or an undesirable duty today. You may find yourself watching and waiting as others pass you by. You may find yourself having to focus on the trivial while the colors of the bigger picture become more vibrant around you. The winds of change may ruffle your feathers, you might even miss a meal or two. God is with you, turn to him and he’ll help you through. Together you’ll achieve his goals for you. Patience is easier with trust as its partner.