At the bird feeder

At the bird feeder I see sparrows and finches,
catbirds, chickadees, mourning doves,
woodpeckers (downy and hairy,
and even the occasional huge pileated
hanging comically on the tiny suet cage),
bluebirds, jays and cardinals….
each with their own calls, their own habits,
their flight patterns, their ways of flocking.
Each different. All distinct. All their own.

God grant you the grace to have your voice, yours,
not another’s, not what another wants of you,
even if you upset them.
God grant you faith to trust your own goodness,
in your own form, with your own gifts,
not what others wish or expect of you.
Let the bluejay next to you squawk all they want;
you don’t have to be a bluejay, or pretend,
or make the bluejay happy.
Don’t let even the mockingbird get you
to sing another’s song. If you’re a sparrow,
be a sparrow, sing your sparrow song.
That’s what gives The Listener such joy.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
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