Pigeon or Parrot
This past week Portland celebrated its annual Rose Festival with a big parade, Dragon boat races, amusement rides and the infamous Fleet Week – whereby the Navy and Coast Guard bring their ships in to dock on the Willamette river for spectators to view and come aboard. This year we even had a couple of ships from the Canadian Navy join in. I thought it was exceptionally nice of Canada to send their entire Navy over. So this past Saturday my daughter Cassie joined Andria and I to check out our Fleet Week. Since we went on the weekend we were also able to take in the big Portland Saturday Market which was in and amongst all the other festivities there. I have always enjoyed markets and needless to say our Saturday Market is pretty cool. There you can buy every trinket imaginable, eat Voodoo Donuts, hear hippies sing 70’s cover songs and enjoy some really good food from the vendors and food carts. It’s also where you’ll meet a lot of interesting people.
One particular older couple caught my eye who had stopped to have lunch. On his back was a beautiful full grown parrot, content to just sit there and bite his hair. Not only was this bird beautiful but it was also incredibly huge! I had to get a better look at the phenomena so as I walked up to them, on the table sitting beside the woman’s plate was an overgrown pigeon patiently waiting for her to feed it. I could hardly believe my eyes. The pigeon just sat there, looking at the woman and then her plate waiting for a bite. I honestly didn’t know which bird was more fascinating – the big parrot or the big pigeon. Andria exchanged a few words with the couple regarding the birds and then we started to walk away. As we did I turned around and noticed that the pigeon had a beautiful red tail. Amazed I remarked, ‘That pigeon has a red tail!’ And then for the next hour I was relentlessly mocked by the two ladies I was with. You see what appeared to me to be a pigeon was in actuality an African Grey parrot. Who knew? Apparently the ladies did. So for the next 60 minutes I had to withstand the constant giggling from my wife and the heckling of my daughter referring to every passing dog as a monkey. Yes, I earned that one!
So this is what I learned. Being so focused on what I thought was a pigeon I ended up ‘missing the forest for all of the trees’ so to speak. I should have noticed the beak…but I didn’t. I should have realized the coloring was far different than a pigeon, but I didn’t. I should have realized the bird was trained…but I didn’t. In my mind I simply labeled the bird a pigeon and believed it. Oops. Now how many times have we all done the same thing with people or relationships? We label somebody a pigeon because to us they appear as one. It doesn’t matter what they say or do, to us they’re a pigeon. The sad part is that we end up treating people the way we see them. All too often we are so quick to label, judge and brand others that we end up missing the forest for all of the trees all because of a pigeon mentality. What would happen if we got a little closer to the individual? Would we see their unique qualities? Would we see their beauty? Is it possible that it’s our perspective which inevitably opens or closes the door of God’s love being shown?
Matthew 5:46-48 (The Message Translation)
If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that…Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.