With temperatures breaking into the low 100s, yesterday was definitely a scorcher, but since a friend and I had planned to meet for coffee early in the day, it was still quite pleasant for us to sit at one of the outdoor tables at a local Starbucks.
Some of you might not know that I have an addiction to Starbucks’ morning buns, a delight of flaky pastry generously spiced with cinnamon and sprinkled with cane sugar, so when I walked in to get coffee and saw they had six left on the tray, I decided to buy all they had with the intention of eating one while I was there, and bringing the rest home to freeze for extended breakfast pleasure in days to come.
It didn’t take us long to see that while this location was not too congested with humans, it was the happy place of residence for many tiny birds that had even built two nests in the letters of the insignia: in the lower half of the “B” and the upper part of the “A”—the two best seats in the house and the ones offering added protection from storms. I am sure the added benefit of many visitors dropping crumbs down below was one of the strong points of their choice of real estate.
Most of the little birds—I don’t know much about birds, so I have no idea what type they were—seemed to have no fear. From the moment I sat down with my unwrapped morning bun, the first courageous soul flew in right beside our table, and looked at me sideways the way only birds know how to do. I pinched a crumb and threw it his way, careful not to jerk my arm too fast and scare him away. He ate it and waited for more, and then, as if he had a tiny invisible trumpet only birdie ears could hear, the rest of the army came upon us, and I could not pinch crumbs fast enough. Our table was surrounded by little balls of feathers inching closer and closer with each falling bite of flaky goodness—thank God for those nice, colorful umbrellas over the tables …
Most of the birds ate and left, some even stopped along the way to pick up a few extra furnishings and building supplies for their homes, but one little bird stood at a distance; he watched other birds fill their minuscule tummies with eager eyes, but never dared to get closer and get a little for himself. I tried throwing him a crumb close to where he was, and again he didn’t trust me enough to partake of the banquet. When other birds left, he still remained in his position, interested but unwilling to jump into the heat of the action. I threw another crumb which landed right beside him and it moved his tiny head to peck at it, but he hesitated for too long and another bird came in and took it away. In the end, he left without even tasting the morning bun—great loss for the little bird, I might say.
Watching the behavior of animals is not too different than watching humans at play. In fact, the behavior of this particular bird was one which is not only very commonly seen, but also it is a behavior that greatly cripples people from moving forward in their lives.
Fear is one of the most crippling factors that can affect our growth, and hesitation is surely its bad cousin. Nothing would have happened to the little bird if he had come close enough to seize his crumb, but fear that something might happen stopped him in its tracks and left him with an empty stomach while all the other birds flew back to their respective homes a feather heavier. Dangers are real, and being a little cautious is surely wise, but allowing fear to get in the way can only lead to lack and stagnation. Even when the morning bun is really close.