Empty Nest, by Libby Moore

My husband and I were gone for a long weekend back in June, and when we got home, we found that a robin had come back to nest for a second year in the hanging planter just outside our garden room. She was shocked to discover us moving around on the other side of the glass, I think, lights going on at night, eyes peering through the glass. But she went ahead and laid her eggs anyway, one a day for four days, and then proceeded to sit on them faithfully through rain and heat and hunger.

A couple of weeks ago the eggs hatched, leaving impossibly small bits of fluff in the nest, barely obvious as birds. A few days later they became all gaping beaks waiting for one of their weary parents to ferry in another worm or bug. The babies crowded each other in the nest as they grew, jockeying for position and ready for food all the time.

Then yesterday morning three of the babies left the nest. They went suddenly, almost falling out of the confined space and into the great world, where they hopped quickly toward the nearby undergrowth. One flew up to a tree branch, but the others remained out of sight. They had been stretching their wings for a while, though, getting ready for this moment, and they’ve been growing so fast they’re probably out there pecking away at worms and looking just like the other robins.

Yesterday was a particularly auspicious time for these babies to leave the nest and find their wings. It was the morning when participants from last year’s Wellspring groups led the Sunday morning worship service. Their topic was the theology of joy, one of our favorite sessions. With poetry and music and their own moving words, they tested their wings and flew, offering themselves and their wisdom to the congregation with grace and love. All year, we’ve been trying to nurture souls in the confined space of small groups, offering bits of wisdom and a safe place to grow in the company of like-minded seekers. This service yesterday was an expression of that growth, a gift to our congregation.

I am grateful for the many ways in which Wellspring participants have contributed to our congregation, and especially for the beauty they created yesterday. May they fly well, wherever they choose to go from here.

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