This past week I saw this year’s group of baby quail for the first time. Their feathers actually blend in beautifully with their surroundings, and I’m sure that’s a genetic adaptation that has helped a number of baby quail to escape the talons of red-tailed hawks like the one that was soaring around our house earlier this morning.
Death and life are intimately intertwined. Death feeds life every time we take a bite of food into our mouths. We may agonize over the deaths that shock us, such as the car and plane crashes I mentioned last week, but many other deaths occur daily, unrecognized by most of us as we go about the routine tasks of our lives.
There are also the “little deaths,” or those ways in which each of us die daily. The cells in our bodies are constantly dying and being replaced, which means that we are literally not the same people that we were last year, or even last month. We suffer (figuratively, and sometimes literally) little deaths when plans do not come to fruition, jobs or important events end, friendships come and go. All of this is part of a cycle of life that is just as real as feeding baby birds with whatever that red-tailed hawk has managed to catch for lunch in the fields around our house.
The good news is that those little deaths do feed new life. Friends move, and others move in to take their place. New jobs start, new babies are born. They are not the same, and we often mourn the losses and notice the differences, but over time we eventually come to recognize the unique value in each life and each new experience. At some point we might even come to recognize that each moment is an irreplaceable gift from God.
When is the last time you took time to give thanks for the present moment?
Take some time this week to watch for, and give thanks for, the new life in your life.