The Sparrow’s Home is a children’s story – for adults. I wrote it years and years ago, when the first grandchild was born into our extended family. My dream was a glossy, professionally published, children’s book that would endear Nana Ellen and her stuff to the next generation of Lebsock little people. I’ll spare you the unpleasant details…and suffice it to say, neither Nana Ellen, her stuff, nor her stories ever reached that idealistic goal. In the real world step-mothers are not...NOT…good Grandmother material I’m afraid.
But, thanks to the Wonderful Worldwide Web, the stories are published. A generation of little people have grown up reading them; albeit not Lebsock little people. And, Nana Ellen’s Stories ‘n Stuff became a favorite in many, many a reader’s heart.
So why The Sparrow’s Home? Short answer…I am a sparrow. Not a robin, with a beautiful song to offer morning and evening. Not a goldfinch, with beautiful plumage to catch the eye and dazzle the senses. Not an eagle, with wings to soar above the average and mundane. I am a simple sparrow, gathering crumbs along the roadside, indistinguishable from the flock around me, ordinary in every sense. I’ve been hungry, afraid, and I’ve quietly prayed for a life that was peaceful and safe.
In the summer of 1977, I was picking up the crumbs from a season shattered by divorce–trying to make sense of the end of life as I’d known it for fifteen years. The details are fairly ordinary. More so today,where in the last decade statistically well over 50% of all marriages end in divorce – but the situation was typical. One husband, one wife, one child – plus divorce – equals three people in crisis who will likely be scarred for life. Thirty years later the details hardly matter. I was heart hungry for someone who would love me unconditionally (although I truly had no idea what that meant), and I was afraid.
On one unfortunate occasion I agreed to go out with a co-worker for a night on the town. Now you’ve got to understand…in the 70’s a night out with a girlfriend did not automatically mean you hooked-up with some hunk for a quick one night stand; but sometimes it happened. Back in the day there was a movie, starring Diane Keaton, Looking For Mr. Goodbar where Hollywood offered a pretty graphic depiction of what could happen when you hooked-up with the wrong hunk. I understood the pitfalls and probabilities, but we went out anyway. I ended that night, standing in the parking lot of a local bar, explaining to some hunk who was probably four or five years older than my 15 year-old son, why he could not come over to my place to get “better acquainted” with me.
Oh yes. I was afraid!
When I got home that night – home being a furnished apartment so far removed from anything I’d ever considered a home it was ridiculous – I quietly prayed. “Oh God, if you’re out there…if you really exist…help me! I don’t want to spend the rest of my life like this. Please HELP me.”
I then threw myself across the bed, cried myself to sleep, hauled myself through the rest of a miserable Sunday, and went back to work Monday morning as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened. I forgot all about my prayer.
During the next several weeks life happened, as it always does. I was learning some things about myself I didn’t really want to know and I was coping with the grief, anger and fear of my divorce. Or so I thought. In June I moved from my furnished apartment to something that was a bit more realistic, a bit more homey, a little less scary, and I joined a “Divorce Survival” class at the local university. I was still picking up crumbs by the roadside. But God had a plan and those crumbs were a trail leading me toward a home – a home for my soul.
This little mismatched, un-metered, rhyme speaks volumes about the stuff I share here at Contentment Cottage; about what the love of God can do for the least of us and what a new life, in Christ, is really all about. If you haven’t read it before, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to do so.
“That long ago night in December I learned what real love can do,
and ever since then, my darling, I’be been waiting to share it with you.”