Turn Around, Red Robin

Last week I was reminded that answers or solutions aren’t necessarily what or even where they initially appear…

UnknownI opened the pedestrian door from our garage onto our patio to sounds of frantic fluttering and flapping, coming from our next-door neighbor’s yard. My first thought was “Oh, no, an injured bird.” As I walked closer to the fence dividing our yards, that’s indeed what it appeared. I saw a robin hopping about and frantically flapping his wings. However, when I looked more closely, I realized that wasn’t it at all. The robin was “imprisoned” inside a loop of chicken wire mesh.

In an attempt to keep his dog away from a section of our shared fence, my neighbor had installed a few feet of chicken wire. The wire had detached from one end and was partially curled over, forming an empty cylinder. Somehow the robin had skittered into this unintentional birdcage, and was now trying his utmost to batter the chicken wire into releasing him to freedom. It was easy to see the effort was causing the bird a great deal of stress and would ultimately exhaust him.

If only we could only redirect the bird to reverse direction and look behind him toward our shared fence, he’d see there was a wide opening in the chicken wire where he could easily hop out and escape his self-made prison. My husband retrieved a broom from the garage and, using the handle, gently attempted to coax the bird to turn around and move toward the fence. This only served to further agitate the bird, as the more my husband prodded, the more the robin flapped his wings and thrust himself forward into the wire. From the bird’s perspective, forward was the only way out. From our perspective, we could clearly see that the true way out was in the opposite direction.

Like the robin, how often are we convinced that the direction we’re going is the only path? Even if someone else comes along and implies our goal may lie in an alternate direction, it’s often difficult to shift gears and turn the other way, certain doing so would only result in a setback. After all, we can “see” our goal directly in front of us. If only there wasn’t that “roadblock” in the way! So, we batter and beat at our barrier, ending up exhausted and frustrated by our lack of progress. Why is it often so difficult to switch directions and approach our goal from a different and often unexpected pathway? Have you ever experienced one of these so-called setbacks redirecting you in a different way, which actually turned out to be a better direction?

images-3Back to the bird…Eventually, we were successful in redirecting the robin to the other side of his self-made cage, where he easily and without fanfare hopped to freedom and flew away…directly opposite of where he’d been throwing himself against the wire.

Makes you stop and think, doesn’t it?

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