Remember the robin who stayed focused and built her nest in spite of my interloping presence? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but something went wrong.

I’m not sure what happened. She faithfully sat on her eggs during the height of the heat wave. She watched over her nest and tongue-lashed other birds who came too close. When she wasn’t in the nest, she never seemed far away or gone for long.

When we left for vacation, I wondered if the sound of baby birds would greet us on our return. But no—no cheep-cheep-cheeps could be heard. No little upturned beaks gaped wide for a meal from momma.

Instead, momma bird was there, still faithfully sitting on the nest, still panting through the heat. I was glad I’d be on hand for the hatching. Glad I’d get to witness the birth of new life.

But one morning a few days after our return, the momma bird wasn’t in her nest. I thought it odd but not too unusual. When I checked that evening, again she was gone.

The next day the empty nest met me once more as I made my rounds. Now I feared something was indeed wrong. No sight of the momma bird in the days that followed confirmed my suspicions. The nest had been abandoned.

What would cause such a faithful and focused momma to walk away—or fly away, as in this case? More than likely, something happened to the eggs. I don’t know anything about the viability of birds’ eggs, but I suspect the unrelenting heat was the culprit. What a disappointment—for the momma bird and for me as well.

Poor momma bird. I wonder how long past the normal time she waited, hoping to see her babies pecking their way out into the world. I wonder how many hot days she soldiered through, doing all in her power to succeed. I wonder how she knew it was time to move on.

Some of us have had plans and projects that didn’t work out. A few of us may be in the midst of one right now. We’ve worked faithfully and done all we know to do. We’ve kept trying, and we’ve waited—and then waited some more. We finally reach a point when we know it’s over, when we know it’s time to move on.

Our hearts, heavy with the disappointment of an unfulfilled dream, sometimes want to cling to the pain and nurse our wounds. And that’s okay for a time. But like the momma bird, we need to abandon the dashed plans and move forward to what life has to offer now.

We’ll certainly learn from the experience and grow stronger, but for now—for today—it’s time to lift our eyes to the future and fly away.

“I lift my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

*Have you ever had to fly away from one of your hopes or dreams? Did a future blessing await you?


  1. What a precious mama bird! I’m sorry it didn’t work out for her. But what a great analogy to our own writing lives. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Powerful, Cheryl. Sobering reminder that not everything is successful in the world’s eyes (or even our own) but yet with God’s help we have not really failed, just shifted our priorities under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. When God is behind a project, He WILL find a way to bring success, even if it’s not quite what we had hoped for!

  3. Hi Cheryl,

    Sad… about the mama bird leaving, and the loss of baby bird moments. Sorry about that. My husband saw some sort of woodpecker on our deck this morning and drew our attention to that. It was lovely.

    Thank you for stopping by my post “Of Fires and Friendship…” Yes, that unwrapping of our lives is beautiful, scary and vital.

    Thanks for joining in.

    Jennifer Dougan

  4. Ladies, thanks for your great comments and especially for the words of wisdom you shared, Laura. I appreciate each of you!

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