AN ALLEGORY. There was a woman who had a lovely patio. In a protected alcove on this patio hung a beautiful macramé—a hand crafted gift from her mother-in-law. On the natural piece of wood at the top of the macramé was a swallow’s nest.
The woman sat on her patio and thought about the nest.
She remembered when she first saw two swallows in her patio alcove. Their wings glistened blue and black in the sun. They perched and chirped awhile. There was no nest then.
The woman was surprised a few hours later to see the swallows flying in and out of the patio alcove–each time with a beak full of mud and dry grass. A nest began to take form atop the macramé. The swallows continued to build, coming and going again and again. The nest grew until it was finished.
One swallow settled into the nest.
The other watched nearby.
The woman reflected upon the work it takes to build a nest. So much patience and perseverance. So much dedication.
Soon after the nest was finished tiny little swallows peaked over the edge. Beaks wide open. Chirping and chirping as if to say, “Feed me! Care for me! Give me your undivided attention!” The swallow parents were always near, protecting and providing for their little ones.
The woman enjoyed the nest when it was crowded with the family of swallows. She watched the babies grow. She thanked God for them. And then—way to soon–they were gone. The nest was empty. She was wistfully sad, but understood that all babies must grow to become adults. There comes a time to leave the nest.
After they were gone, the woman was careful to protect the empty nest because swallows always return. Don’t they?
However, the next spring and the next the swallows did not return. The woman found herself thinking long and hard about the dangers that might have prevented their return. It was frightening and sad.
The woman tried to process her disappointment and expectations. After much worry and many thoughts, she chided herself because she had forgotten the babies would have found mates and built their own nests. Of course, they would not return to live in this nest.
But what about the parent swallows? Aren’t they the ones to return to the nest on her patio? Coming spring after spring to the same nest atop the macramé?
The woman began to consider that perhaps these parent swallows were a lot like herself and her husband. They built a nest for their babies where hungry mouths were fed. The little ones were nurtured and taught to fly. And fly they did.
The woman remembered when their nest was empty; she and her husband began their migration. They didn’t return to the original nest either, but wherever God directed their flight … wherever they landed … they built new nests and welcomed new births into God’s spiritual family.
This woman now supposes that the reader would have to know a little more about her journey to understand this allegory better. The original nest stands for the safe place she and her husband built to nurture and protect their three daughters before they began to fly on their own. When their daughters were grown and the nest was empty, the woman and her husband flew many miles to make new homes. These new and different homes welcomed new babies, too. These new babies were babes in Christ whose true Father is God. These babes were cared for and fed spiritual food until one day they were ready to be on their own.
These first new babes in Christ matured until they welcomed new babes who matured and welcomed new babes. Season after season after season.
SEEING THE TRUTH IN THE ALLEGORY
How lovely is your
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
ever singing your praise! Selah!
PRAYING THE TRUTH IN THE ALLEGORY
O Lord of everything large and small, we lay our young at your altar. Feed us. Protect us. But, if we or our young should migrate far from You, recalculate our flight pattern to point us in your direction. May we never choose a place far from You to nest. You are our home, O Lord of All! May we always sing eternal praises to You!
RANDOM BLESSINGS FROM SWALLOWS
- Adam gave names to all the birds of the heavens (Genesis 2:20)
- In Hebrew, the word for swallow is deror, which is described as a bird that loves freedom, that is distinguished for its swift flight, and does not do well in captivity
- God’s wisdom to be learned from deror:
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17
Know this, my beloved brothers and sisters: let every person be quick (swift) to hear …. James 1:19
The years of life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty … they are soon gone, and we fly away. Psalm 90:10
DOES NOT DO WELL IN CAPTIVITY
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery (sin). Galatians 5:1