Propped up on the bookcase in our bedroom is a picture. It’s not a picture made in the conventional way but it is crafted from finely cut bamboo. The bamboo is either straw-coloured, red, green or black, the colours the craftsman needed to create the picture.
The end result of the craft person’s labours is a bird. And the bird is a crane. While one of its long legs rests on a branch the other is lifted up. The crane’s wings have also been crafted in such a way as to make the bird appear as if it is readying itself for flight. The bamboo crane is mounted on silk painted the colour of sky, and the delicate work is covered in cellophane with a paper backing.
The ‘picture’ was given to my husband 35 years ago and has been in our possession since. According to the message on the back it was a gift from a medical student, who came to help in the hospital my husband was manning in the remote highlands of PNG. The picture, from the student’s homeland China, has survived although since then we have moved countries and houses.
Something about this unframed picture of the crane is arresting, so much so I propped it up on the bookcase in our bedroom some months after we downsized and moved to a new suburb.
When a new year begins my habit has been to seek from the Spirit, what the purpose of the year is meant to be. This year was no exception.
When I considered the question in my quiet time, my gaze fell on the picture of the crane. It seemed to have something to say to me.
The stance of the crane reminded me that there is no retiring from God’s service – that with the aid of the Spirit beneath my ‘wings’ I was to expect new adventures.
And each new day has becomes an adventure.
Nothing delights me more than when, in obedience to a ‘nudge’ from within some action, that on the surface seems quite trivial, turns out to be far-reaching.
I believe it is the Spirit active in me, and within the heart of anyone who sets time aside to listen. I believe too it is the same Spirit that urged the disciples to act as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. It is a never-ending adventure and the most satisfying way to live. And I challenge anyone who hasn’t tried it to give it a go.