W is for Watchful
Today's devotion is written by Lauren Koller, who also painted the accompanying watercolor.
There's a blue heron that hangs out at the pond close to my house. A few weekends ago, I paused at the pond to acknowledge the blue heron and quickly continued on my walk, looping around a neighborhood while lost in thought of what the upcoming work week was going to look like, my mental grocery list, did I need to get my oil changed, and when was my last doctor's appointment? I suddenly was back at the pond, staring at the blue heron, and had not recalled anything of what I saw on my 1-mile journey.
Maybe the Blue Heron is on to something. So I stopped, found a fence post to lean against, and watched the blue heron watch the pond. At first, it felt boring and insignificant - there did not seem to be anything going on and the blue heron had not moved since the first time I arrived at the pond. But soon, my thoughts drifted away and it was like nature came to life right in front of me. A mallard duck couple seemed to appear out of thin air, swimming out of a shrub that was right next to me. A flock of geese honked and water-landed right in the middle of the pond (which is very cool to see how they angle their wings and body on the descent and somehow gracefully glide to a halt in the water). A belted kingfisher zoomed overhead and dive-bombed into the water to grab a fish. Meanwhile, the blue heron remained unchanged.
But suddenly, the blue heron cocked its head forward closer to the water, eyes laser focused. 10 seconds, 20 seconds, 30 seconds. In a literal blink of an eye, its beak zipped under the surface, grabbed the now flopping fish, and gulped it down.
Maybe the blue heron can help us this advent season - they are the kings and queens of being patient, purposeful, of waiting, watching, and anticipating. They are confidently ready, never worried about the future, never caught up in racing thoughts, to do lists, or what ifs. Maybe we don't have to do more or think more or be more. Maybe we can take joy in just being and God's world opens up before our eyes.