(OBSESSE)D.C. Eagle Cam
Have you seen this yet? Why NOT? I am not really an animal lover, but I am obsessed with the DC Eagle Cam. I was up feeding my real baby at 2 am and checking my phone (which you should not do) to see my (I mean the) eagle babies. You see, the second chick was due to hatch just like its adorable, fluffy, little, grey sibling had done a couple of days before. I learned from my son's Eyewitness book about birds that eagles always lay a clutch of two eggs. (We have been having learning conversations out the wazoo.)
Although I am scared of almost all other large birds, turkeys and geese in particular (!!!), I have always been intrigued by raptors and probably have my hawk-spotting, Texas daddy to thank for that. Bald Eagles are by FAR my favorite, and I know a couple of hot eagle-watching spots in Seattle. A couple of years ago during our first week in the new house, we took a walk down to our neighborhood pond and, NO JOKE, saw a baldie swoop down to catch a fish from the water, drop it mid-air, and then swing around to follow the juvenile that flew in to catch the fish as it was falling. AH-mazing!!! Brendan immediately broke into the theme from Marty Stouffer's Wild America, and once again confirmed that we are, indeed, soulmates.
Eagle fan that I am, I am a little overly-obsessed with the cam for a non-animal-lover, and here's why: the Bible is full of language about eagles, and I am deeply attracted to it.
- Isaiah 40:30-31: Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
- Ruth 2:12: The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!
- Psalm 17:8: Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings...
And besides these are many more desires for protection under the Almighty's wings and God's (and Jesus') expressions of desire to protect their children the way a mother protects her chicks.
There isn't much more pathetic and fragile than a baby bird. When I was a little girl my mother became the go-to lady for dropping off baby birds that had fallen from their nests. This happened a lot in windy West Texas. She would feed them every 15 minutes at times. They had to be kept warm, and she even taught them to fly by perching them on her finger and moving them through the air to get the feeling of flapping their wings. Watching the eagle cam you can see the deliberate, constant care the babies require. The mother is regularly adjusting to keep them covered and warm. When she feeds them, she does it quickly and shields them from the wind and rain. The male flies in and out frequently with food and nesting materials.
During the course of my struggle with POTS and also while post-partum (and recovering from gallstones and gallbladder surgery), I felt like a helpless baby bird, fragile and easily harmed both physically and emotionally. Heck, often still even just on a normal day with 4 children I feel that way. I see myself in Isaiah 40, a young woman exhausted and faint, one with young in need of gentle leading. I need the strength of an eagle to do my job, but more, I realize, I need the protection of the LORD's, the eagle's, wings. My own weakness is off-putting to me. I tend to despise the weakness I see in myself, but I'm learning to let it lead me to the nest. There are times when fortitude has abandoned me completely, even spiritually. I feel exposed and afraid and am easily tempted to lash out. I puff myself up with false comforts or pride to fool myself into thinking I can deal with everything on my own or to distract myself from the troubles at hand.
I don't remember the first time I did it, but somehow, with this eagle imagery from Scripture in my mind, I developed the skill of visualizing myself in the nest under the wings of the Almighty God. I now do it regularly and pray something like this:
Lord, snuggle me in close. Fluff your feathers over me, and let me lie here, desperately needing you. I need you to protect me. Let me lie here and leave all the troubles I'm carrying here for you to deal with yourself. I don't want to turn to other comforts, to fool myself into thinking I am anything more than a baby bird. Please give me rest so that I can recover my strength, so that I can walk and not grow weary and somehow mount on my own eagle wings. I cannot fix my body, and I cannot fix my heart. But, you love me anyway. You have compassion for me, and so I'm coming to lie in the nest.
I am deeply comforted by the Holy Spirit ministering to me in this prayer. I add to my prayer the images of these eagles caring for their babies.
And then there's the mom thing. I find encouragement for my motherhood by watching this Sheagle (not a real word... mostly). She is obviously tired, though eagles admittedly already sport a pretty serious RBF. She is trying to get snatches of sleep whenever she can, and she just sits there and feeds the babies and then sits some more. I need to do more of that. The human species doesn't stop long enough to just take care of the babies. We try to add the baby to our regular lives and keep clipping along at the usual pace, and we just wear ourselves ragged. I am planning to spend a lot of time in my nest this week, both literally and figuratively. And while I sit and feed the baby and watch the cam, I will be mentally high-fiving the eagle while she does the same. Keep it up, sister!
(and, ummm, please don't neglect or kill one of the babies. that'll really mess me up)
© 2016 American Eagle Foundation, photo: Copyright 2016 American Eagle Foundation, EAGLES.ORG.