The Cardinal

Several years ago, early in the morning, I was awakened by a strange sound coming from the backyard. At first I thought the tapping sound was being made by someone driving a nail into a board. But I decided that was not the right sound. Perhaps it is someone tampering with the garage door. No, not the right sound. Several other possibilities crossed my mind before I gave up and left my warm bed.

Looking out the window I saw a cardinal perched on the bracket holding the outside mirror of Twyla’s car. The bird would look at his features in the mirror, fluff and preen, and then as if giving kisses, tap his beak against the mirror. The behavior was narcissistic and neurotic. This ritual occurred each morning for several days. To put a stop to the antics I finally placed a paper sack over the mirror. The cardinal, deprived of his platform, ceased the morning ritual amidst much fluttering and began frequenting some other, more hospitable perch.

I thought of this as it relates to human nature.

(1) People who think more highly of themselves and their interests can be a nuisance to others. If they would only be egotistical in silence it would be a help but they won’t so it isn’t.

(2) People who think too highly of themselves use and abuse what belongs to others.  The review mirror maintained scratches that decreased the effectiveness of it’s legitimate use.

(3) People who think too highly of themselves get upset when deprived of their forum. If you can’t put a sack over the bird, and must instead put it over his platform, expect ruffled feather anyway.

This provides me a checklist.  If my behavior annoys other people is it because of my vanity and the way I parade it?  How sensitive am I to the feelings and belongings of others?  When I am upset about something what is it that is really bothering me?

Answers to these questions may mean the primary reason I am flustered and anxious is because of my ego, not something in others. My attitude in this area is important because as the Apostle James reminds us “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble”. (Epistle of James 4:6)  

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