Touch, You & Your Family

A gift of nature, a reminder of perspective

A FEW WEEKS AGO, my wife and I were surprised when we noticed a bird’s nest being built on the palm plant in our tiny enclosed yard.

This unusual siting of the nest meant that it is just three metres away and at eye-level. To people like us who admire nature and try with difficulty to observe these elusive creatures, this was an unexpected gift.

Over the next few days, we spied on the nest behind drawn curtains. We observed and watched the busy to-and-fro movements of two birds that we concluded were in the process of starting their family. e Pied Triller couple soon rewarded us with a pair of hatchlings. We became proud “parents” once again.

You cannot imagine the joy this gift of nature brought to our lives. My wife, who is normally a “night-bird”, found an extra burst of energy to rise early every morning and check on how our unexpected guests were doing. Watching this live drama somehow took us beyond ourselves and gave us relief from some of life’s chaos and stresses.

Observing the devotion of these avian parents to their young also reminded us of the challenge and demands of parenthood. Within two weeks, almost as quickly as they came, the whole family was gone. Within a day of observing one of the “babies” standing upright in the nest, they disappeared from our home. We were left with their empty nest as a reminder of the pleasure of their company.

Readers might be perplexed at how two grown-ups can feel so much emotion from this brief encounter.

Some might wonder if we were being overly absorbed with these creatures and that it was time for us to “get real” and get on with life. After all, were there not more important things in life to think about and fuss over?

Indeed there are many things in life to be concerned about. The catastrophic famine in Ethiopia, the impending financial meltdown of some European economies, and the uncertainties surrounding some of our jobs are just some important events that can preoccupy us. Yet precisely because of these events, it is all the more important to remember the simple everyday miracles of life.

The Bible reminds us of the lilies of the field in Matthew 6:28 and that in spite of man’s wealth, power and creativity, we cannot clothe these simple lilies in more beautiful apparel. These everyday miracles of life bear testimony to the power and provision of God. Because we are constantly bombarded by the harshness of life, we would do well to remind ourselves that there is also another reality surrounding us. This is the presence of God’s miracles in creation.

Only recently, a Straits Times article pointed out that there are more than 100 plant and animal species found in Singapore which are unique to the world. Such a reminder is both life-sustaining and life-enhancing.

Benny Bong, a member of Kampong Kapor Methodist Church, is a family and marital therapist.