Mary Lennox is a stubborn, ugly orphan girl conveyed from India to stay with her uncle at Misselthwaite mansion. Having spent much of her childhood with only her Ayah to dress and look after her, Mary dislikes almost everyone she meets and finds little joy in day-to-day life.
Wandering the gardens, Mary encounters gardener Ben Weatherstaff. She has nothing better to do than to distract the curmudgeonly worker, and soon sees a beautiful robin skittering onto the scene.
“The robin hopped about, busily pecking the soil, and now and then stopped and looked at them a little. Mary thought his black dewdrop eyes gazed at her with great curiosity. It really seemed as if he were finding out all about her. The queer feeling in her heart increased.
“ ‘Where did the rest of the brood fly to?’ she asked.
“ ‘There’s no knowin.’ The old ones turn ’em out o’ their nest an’ make ’em fly, an’ they’re scattered before you know it. This one was a knowin’ one an’ he knew he was lonely.’
“Mistress Mary went a step nearer to the robin and looked at him very hard.
“ ‘I’m lonely,’ she said.
“She had not known before that this was one of the things which made her feel sour and cross. She seemed to find it out when the robin looked at her and she looked at the robin.” (Burnett, 44)
Much like the conceited red robin, Mary has been left behind. She understood that she was unhappy, but only when Ben Weatherstaff relates the robin’s tale does Mary realize that she, too, is lonely.
As Christians, we know that we are not created to walk alone. Life’s joys and sorrows are too great to bear in solitude. But how often do we convince ourselves that we can handle matters ourselves? How often do we get so wrapped up in our own path that we fail to listen to the lonely chirpings around us?
Paul exhorts, “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.” (Romans 15:2)
When we please those around us, we not only allow ourselves to be used by God to reflect His love, but we also experience fellowship and learn about ourselves. Both parties are edified.
What is remarkable about this scene is that Mary-quite-contrary pauses to ask Ben Weatherstaff about the robin. She makes a point to find out what makes him the way he is, and she responds, recognizing her own ailments.
When was the last time we took a moment on our journey to stop and consider our neighbor? Even just to ask them what their story is?
What holds us back from building relationships? Fear? Busy-ness? Apathy?
My challenge for myself this week, and perhaps for you, is to be perceptive enough to hear the lonely chirps around me, and to pause to show love through fellowship.
All of us are on a journey, and all of us need to be loved. As we love others, I believe that we will experience God’s love in return.
Thanks for stopping by, and happy reading, friends!