“On Wings like a Dove” - by Bryan Fox - July 2018
This past season we have had some uninvited, delightful and thoroughly welcome guests move into our backyard, a family of doves. Actually they were Mourning Doves, given the name, I suppose, because of their distinctive sad, sorrowful voice. It’s hard to describe it in writing, sort of like “Hoo-ah- hoo...Hooo...Hoooo...Hoooooooo”. But I want to tell you that far from making my family feel sad and mournful, every time we heard the mamma dove’s call to her babies we all felt a deep down joy in our souls. Those birds really speak to you!
(I wonder if during mating season the male dove adds’ “Hey what’s cookin’ babe?” to his call… I’ll have to listen closer next year.)
It took us quite by surprise. One morning we looked out our patio window and there sitting on our deck were two cute little doves, with their mother perched on the railing watching over them. It was her call, that “Hoo-ah-hoo” sound that first got our attention to look. And over the next few weeks it became apparent that the Dove Family had claimed our entire deck, first as their nest and later their living room! How wonderful and fascinating it was to see the babies grow rapidly into independent young adults, and then one day they flew away. How ironic that on that day the Mourning Doves left, we found ourselves mourning!
I remember from when I was little, falling down the stairs with a home-made cape while trying to fly like Superman, to my awkward teen years longing to fly away from parties because I never learned how to dance, to middle-age when I actually took skydiving lessons to prove to myself that “I still had it”, and then there was that one special Father’s Day when my son paid for me to take a flying lesson and I actually flew the plane myself!
But those times of excitement and daring have long since passed; now that a lot of us have grown older and the years have taken their toll, have you ever felt like the psalmist? “Fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking. Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest! I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness.” (Psalm 55:5-7 NLT) Yup, we can all relate to that. And we remember another psalmist - in fact it was Moses - who said, “Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away”. (Psalm 90:10) But hey it’s not all bad. Moses lived to 120! But I don’t think any of us are quite ready for that! Nope, instead let’s think more practically, and expectantly.
Albert Edward Brumley, thinking of his days picking cotton back in the fields of his family’s Oklahoma farm, wrote one of the most recorded gospel songs of all time, “I’ll Fly Away”.
“Some glad morning when this life is over, I'll fly away. To a home on God's celestial shore, I'll fly away. When the shadows of this life are gone, I'll fly away. Like a bird from prison bars has flown, I'll fly away. Just a few more weary days and then, I'll fly away. To a land where joy shall never end, I'll fly away”. And then the chorus says, “I'll fly away, O glory I'll fly away in the morning. When I die, Hallelujah, bye and bye, I'll fly away.”
Amen, let’s get on that “Heaven Flight” together!