Pick Me, Pick Me!
Praised be the Maker of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has bestowed on us in Christ every spiritual blessing in the heavens! Before the world began, God chose us in Christ to be holy and blameless and to be full of love. ~ Ephesians 1:3-4
Some species of ground nesting birds gather on what is called a lek at the beginning of the breeding season. The purpose of the gathering is to show off. The males put on their best performances for the females. Some literally strut their stuff like turkeys and some grouse. Some, like American Woodcocks, put on an air show. It would be easier to enjoy if it didn’t begin at dusk, but it is still impressive. These squat, camouflaged birds announce their presence with an unassuming nasal “peent.” Then, like the random explosions of popcorn, one by one they take to the sky, circling up higher and higher. Though the low light makes them hard to see, their flapping wings make a whirring sound that helps to follow their spiraling flight. Then there is a pause and just as you think they may have flown off, a series of short sporadic whistles announce their rapid descent. Effectively, they fall from the height of their flight in a teetering motion allowing their unique wing feathers to create sound as the air rushes over them. They tend to land in nearly the precise location they took off from, the proof of which is the triumphant “peent” that marks the end of the display. If may seem humorous and even a bit underwhelming to you and me, but trust me, the lady woodcocks love it. Over a series of nights, the number of males displaying on the lek decreases as the females make their choices and the pairs move off to find a good spot to nest.
Of course, human courtship is likely just as entertaining to non-humans. In so many situations we find ourselves pitted against each other lamenting “pick me, pick me!” Being chosen is an affirmation that feels vital to our self-worth and when we are passed over, the sense of rejection can be soul-crushing. If only there were enough acceptance to go around. Well, perhaps there is. Perhaps it is only in the human emotional economy that we find scarcity. Scripture assures us that we were chosen for blessing by our maker long before we were made. In God’s economy, there is no shortage of life-affirming acceptance. Some theologians would have us believe that God doles out blessing in some predestined formula so that we should be grateful for any pittance we might receive. But when we are able to adjust our expectations that we can see the miracle that life itself, any life, is, then we can become part of the chorus of Creation singing the glories of God, even if it is only whistling feathers and a plaintive “peent.”
Prayer: Great Maker, thank you for picking me, picking us, picking all of us. Amen.