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What Can the Robin Teach Us ??????

07 Jul

robinNorth American Robin

There is a characteristic that we humans have that goes along with most other living creatures. We have the need for community; we are social creatures by nature. God said in the beginning “it is not good for man to be alone” Gen. 2:8. The social need that we have goes beyond that of only needing a spouse. Too much solitude is not good for us. We need each other. We long for authentic relationships.

On the other hand, God has created each of us as unique people, with a unique personality and a unique potential. He wants us to become ever more fully who He created us to be. It is not a healthy thing to lose our individuality while being part of a crowd. In the modern world in which we live, especially the impersonal lives of big cities the biggest danger of the two tendencies is that we forget about ourselves. and who we are, and even more importantly, who God wants us to be.

From the time we leave our mother’s womb we begin the process of freedom. Do you remember your teenage years, when you thought you didn’t need your parents any longer? I call teenagers “tweeners’ because they aren’t mere children any longer, nor are they yet adults who can care completely for themselves; but they are stretching for more freedom.

What “space” is to humans, “territory” is to birds. I was looking out of my study window this morning at daybreak, as I do every morning; and every morning I see about the same movement, the same actions by the same animals. I maintain between 4-5 acres as a garden. There are many trees and bushes and a pond and a ravine that is home to many different birds and rabbits and squirrels, etc. Looking out this morning I saw the robin protecting their territory as I do everyday. Other birds were coming into the robins territory and they run them off. The part played by territory in the bird’s annual cycle of courtship, mating, incubating their eggs, and parenthood is crucial to their survival.

I want to give you only a few facts about the robin. There are 2 birds called a Robin. Europeans have a Robin and North America has another bird that we call a Robin. Actually our North American Robin is not a Robin at all, but is a thrush. Both are songbirds and live in gardens and woodlands, and get along well with humans; both enjoy a diet of earth worms and insects and have the same pattern of flying south in the winter; and they both have a very prominent red breast.

The European Robin is even more popular than its North American namesake. It is actually the national bird of Britain. It is smaller than a Sparrow and is a much tamer bird than its North American counterpart. I remember reading in a Charles Spurgeon biography that a large number of Robins gathered at the Norwood Cemetery in South London for his funeral. This is a quote from the biographer ” a little Robin poured forth its liquid note…. from a neighboring tombstone. The redbreast made appropriate music, fabled as it was to have had its crimson coat ever since it picked a thorn from the Saviour’s bleeding brow”. (Lewis A. Drummond in Spurgeon Prince of Preachers, Kregel, 1992, p.755). Since that time the European Robin has been called by many a “pious” bird.

european robinEuropean Robin

In all truth, the Robin is a very territorial  bird. The very pretty song of the Robin is not to attract a mate, or for his own pleasure, but is a song to advertise to all that the territory is his. After his territory is marked in the early Spring the song then becomes his song to hens in search of a mate.

So, why is the Robin so territorial? There are four reasons I could find for this. First, it helps in the getting and retaining of a mate. Secondly, it guarantees a ready food supply for its young. Thirdly, it keeps the population spaced out for them to all have a suitable environment. Finally, it prevents other pairs from interrupting the raising of several broods.

As Christians, we should be very cautious that we keep our combinations of both community and our own “space” or “territory”. We need to avoid both extremes. Neither is good for us one without the other.

To give up our individual time with no privacy, no time for reflection, and no time to grow into the unique person that God has made each of us to be is to lose a very significant part of who we are.

On the other hand, a solitary life is a not healthy for anybody. To live the life of a hermit is to deny ourselves as a social being and our calling into fellowship with others. The mystics denied themselves thinking that they would be absorbed into the Divine. As Christians we know that God’s purpose for us is not to lose, but to keep our individuality. The Christian life begins when Christ stands at the door of our hearts and knocks. He will not invade our space until we open the door of our hearts to admit Him to come in.

Until tomorrow, Lord willing,

Levi

 
31 Comments

Posted by on July 7, 2014 in Birds, Christianity, Faith, Religion

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

31 responses to “What Can the Robin Teach Us ??????

  1. Rob Barkman

    July 7, 2014 at 4:36 am

    I do enjoy this series, Levi. You make a very good point. Either of the two extremes can be harmful for us.

    One of the most difficult issues that Christian’s face in today’s time is the temptation to be in th world and yet not become a part of it by thinking and acting as the world acts. That is why some Christians are so tempted to remove themselves out of the world and no longer be a light to those around them.

    May the Lord lead each one of us to the proper balance in our lives! Lord bless you.

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    • Levi Thetford

      July 7, 2014 at 6:10 am

      Thanks Rob for the great comment. I agree on your point on why some Christians stay alone, and yet I know many who are afraid to ever be by themselves. They always want someone around. I must personally have some free time. Lord bless you. Thanks so much!!!

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  2. kiwiskan

    July 7, 2014 at 4:38 am

    I tend to lean to the solitary…

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    • Levi Thetford

      July 7, 2014 at 6:12 am

      That is my tendency as well, but I go to town first thing every morning to spend times with buddy’s for an hour or so. Without that I may would not talk to hardly anyone for a few days.

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  3. lookingthroughanotherseyes

    July 7, 2014 at 4:38 am

    Lovely post Levi. I have a Robin comes to my feeders daily throughout the year, very occasionally there are two, it comes and sits on the garden bench beside me and eats the seeds I put on the floor. I love birds. Where I lived out in Llandrillo near Bala, I had absolutely tons and tons of Siskin’s hence my online name of Su Siskin & my email address siskinthistle@gmail.com It broke my heart last year to leave them all behind when we moved house. They are so rare, only 6% of British gardens have them as visitors.

    Your post reminded me of a lovely poem.
    Overheard In An Orchard

    Said the Robin to the Sparrow
    “I would really like to know
    Why these anxious human beings
    Rush about and worry so.”

    Said the Sparrow to the Robin
    “Friend I think that it must be
    That they have no Heavenly Father
    Such as cares for you and me.”

    –Elizabeth Chaney – 1859

    Well I’m off out to spend the day with Sophie my daughter in Wrexham.
    God bless my friend.
    Su x

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    • Levi Thetford

      July 7, 2014 at 6:07 am

      Thanks for the words and poem Su. Have a great day!!

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  4. Garden Walk Garden Talk

    July 7, 2014 at 5:13 am

    A very nice post, Levi. I find both alone time (when I am in nature or doing my art) and that with friends equally rewarding and something I feel I could not live without. I find it difficult to believe others choose to live without the company of friends and family, but I know of it first hand. Those people like sharing their misery to others around them. It keeps their space well guarded.

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    • Levi Thetford

      July 7, 2014 at 6:05 am

      We need both quiet and space and time with friends and family that’s for sure. I can’t imagine being stranded on an island alone. Thanks for you comments. I appreciate it.

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  5. geoffhorswood

    July 7, 2014 at 5:26 am

    Lovely! A different take to my own (http://ghwordforge.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/same-name-different-bird-part-2), and I think even better.
    Connection to others. A vital lesson.
    Blessings on your day!

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    • Levi Thetford

      July 7, 2014 at 5:58 am

      Thanks Geoff. I don’t think mine was better at all but they compliment each other. Thanks my UK/Texas friend.

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  6. Cynthia Reyes

    July 7, 2014 at 6:12 am

    Levi, this is such an interesting and inspiring post. You draw great lessons from the robin. And I didn’t know all these facts about robins either. Well done.

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    • Levi Thetford

      July 7, 2014 at 6:14 am

      Good morning Cynthia! Thank you very much. I hope you have a lovely day😀

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  7. Sue C.

    July 7, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Another informative and interesting post Levi. Personally I need the alone time and I have a lot of it but I wouldn’t trade my friends for anything.

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    • Levi Thetford

      July 7, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      Thanks Sue. I’m the same way. I need my space and get plenty of it but have lots of friends as well. I hope you’re doing good. 😀

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      • Sue C.

        July 7, 2014 at 12:48 pm

        Been having a tummy bug the last 3 days but hopefully I’m through it now. I thought you were in N.Y. this week.

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        • Levi Thetford

          July 7, 2014 at 12:53 pm

          I leave Saturday and will be gone 17 days. I’m getting everything ready while I’m gone. Lots to do for sure. Sorry you’ve been sick. I’m glad you’re feeling better.

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          • Sue C.

            July 7, 2014 at 1:21 pm

            Thank you. Going to miss you. 🙂

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            • Levi Thetford

              July 7, 2014 at 1:24 pm

              I’ll still be around some and am going to schedule something in advance for everyday. I plan to keep everyone updated if possible.

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  8. skinnyuz2b

    July 7, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Levi, a rose by any other name … Or a Robin.
    Balance is essential in whatever we do. Your post illustrates this.

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    • Levi Thetford

      July 7, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      Balance is the key in life, I agree. Experience helps too which means we are getting old. Lol

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  9. Linda Arthur Tejera

    July 7, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    This is a wonderful post. Love the info on the robins also! Have a safe trip! 🙂

    Like

     
  10. Cate Pane: The Clear Parent

    July 7, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Yes! We need to worship both horizontally (as community) and vertically (as individuals). It’s a delicate balance. Love the post and the robin photo! I think your posts about birds and faith are inspirational!

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    • Levi Thetford

      July 7, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      Thanks so much Cate. I’ve really enjoyed doing them. Hope all is well with you and your family.

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  11. vw1212

    July 7, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    so pointed and ideal. vw

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  12. beverley

    July 8, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    I saw the first photo and thought that’s not a robin its a thrush. I have not seen a thrush in the UK with a red breast it is always the small wren-like robins that are around here. As for ‘tweeners’ in the UK use the word ‘tweenies’ to mean those who are not quite a teenager. As for community, it is important for our tweenies to see us the adults engaged in our community gatherings in the hope that they will follow suit.

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    • Levi Thetford

      July 8, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      You were right Beverley. It really is a thrush. I was close to your word for teenagers. Yours kinda sounds like weenies which is what I call weiners. Lol. Hope you are doing well. You’ve been sounding more chipper, have a nice evening! 😀

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      • beverley

        July 9, 2014 at 2:16 am

        Well it’s 8am on Wednesday morning and the sun is shining so life has to be good 🙂 I am working on it, but life just makes me sad sometimes. I have written out a plan, but plans often get lost in my life, but every day i am pulling out the plan and seeing what is next and going slower, physically, mentally and even spiritually. Hope you have a good day Levi

        Like

         

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