I’m always amazed to look up in the sky and see a large hawk attempting to escape from his scrawny songbird tormentors. (If you’re not aware of this natural phenomenon, check out this video.)
The much larger bird of prey is swooping and diving while the mob of crows, mockingbirds, or grackles are pecking its feathers off, dive-bombing it, and even pooping on it. So why does he put up with it and why are they so adamantly pursuing this guy? It comes down to this: one crow is a meal but a half dozen is murder. (Please read the preceding sentence aloud and say murder in a menacing way. There. Wasn’t that satisfying?) A murder is actually what you call a flock of crows, and a murder of crows is a force to be reckoned with. If they can act in concert with each other, they can attack the invading hawk who wants to fly off with their young. They can protect their territory. They can stand up to the bully. They can persuade the seemingly helpless townspeople to sew elaborate costumes and construct traps to defeat the nasty El Guapo and his ruthless bandits…wait, that’s the plot of the movie, Three Amigos, but you get the point. Though weak alone, we are stronger together.
I’m reminded of my communities who make me stronger: my sisters, my best friends from high school, my Bible study group. They bolster me with prayers and words of encouragement. They fast with me, even from chocolate, which is tantamount to martyrdom. They ask how I am…really. I wish I could say I’m good at pulling my end of the rope in the tug of war match that is life, but that’s not always the case. I’m trying to do better. I’m trying to remember to ask about those fears and struggles and big decisions my friends lay before me. I’m trying to set aside my to-do lists and pull out my prayer lists instead.
Being truly invested in another person’s ups and downs is hard. It’s often messy and exhausting. Sometimes, you may dig too deep in a friend’s wound and the pain may push them away. But knowing you’re on the receiving end of prayers and petitions is healing and your hope is they will return.
I’m honored to fly with my fellow crows. God has faithfully assigned some amazing, loyal friends to my flock over the years. Now I pray I can be the community I’m called to be, even if it means pooping on our enemy.