Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mourning doves and the Church

God has given us, my husband, one of my granddaughters who is living with us, and myself, a gift of two mourning doves. They came early this year and chose the window air conditioner that sets outside but in the window that is just above some of my books.

They have good company; C.S. Lewis and Willa Cather share that space. Dante’s circles of hell and Solzhenitsyn’s First Circle which is also hellish set in their shelves beneath them. And if they could stretch their wings through hard glass they would touch Flannery O’Conner’s The Habit of Being (her letters) and a biography of Edith Stein: The untold Story of the philosopher and Mystic who lost her life in the Death Camps of Auschwitz, a book I have yet to read.

They built a nest from twigs and now at least two tiny eggs can be seen in it when the female flies away to find her food. Their soft mourning sounds grace our morning coffee. Mostly they are quiet and still and we forget they are there.

Unannounced, with only seeming small complaints, they chose a very flat, hard, cold metal surface to build upon. Neither sand nor rock, yet they have survived the first spring storm. They had hardly finished when it blew our way. My granddaughter kept peeking through the curtains at them announcing “they are still there.” And they rode through windy blasts that took out many city trees; it even took out our electricity for several hours.

They exist like the church, on what seems to be a precarious perch. I worry that in a few more weeks the waxwings, while flying in a large grouping, eating the berries from a tree nearby, will frighten them away. Or even that one of the neighborhood cats will find some way to scale the side of the house, (we live on the second floor) and destroy their peace, their eggs or even their lives. But there the female sets protecting her eggs. And somewhere the male is watching and protecting.

God has placed them there for good or ill. No matter, for now they are a blessing. But God has also placed his church where he wants her in various parts of the world. Always for good, no matter how many cats roam the world. In weakness, suffering, in the power of his cross the church is blessed with his grace and promises. The gates of hell shall not prevail. Though storm winds blow or many trees- the mighty- fall- still she will exist eternally in his care.