The bluebird of happiness is many things. For me, it is that moment when I am struck with serendipity and every last thing in creation comes into focus as the glory of life sings praises to the Maker. It is the light, it is the life, and it is the everlasting joy that glitters down from heaven.
My best friend’s father was a pastor. Like many folks, he spoke well…but inspiring messages weren’t what set him apart. It wasn’t his calling, his writing, or his attitude. All in all, what made him unique was the fact that he greeted all the things in his life with a childlike perspective and a pure, practically sparkling joy.
I can’t begin to describe the infectious light or life and the God that gave it to him any better than I can tell you what those words sounded like that spoke the stars into existence on the shores of a darkened universe. My fondest memory of him was two weeks before I got married. Sitting up in the Tahoe mountain house, things were fairly quiet over the breakfast table. Dogs napped in the morning light flooding through the windows, the breeze whispered through the trees… all was peacefully quiet. But not for long. The front door burst open and a wide eyed man, the age of my own father, with a grin on his face like a 5 year old at Christmas, stopped every last thought in my mind, every last action in my body. I’m pretty sure that in that moment, time froze. A moment later, it broke; it shattered like a thousand crystalline, rainbow reflecting, rain drops breaking through sunlit clouds.
“You have to see this!” He shouted. “Come and look at how amazing our God is!”
Dutifully we followed– his wife, his daughter, the two dogs, and me– out the door. The sun was shining, the air was crisp, the trees were perfectly blended between summer and autumn and there was a spark of electricity in the air.
“Look at how beautiful this day is!” he exclaimed. The excitement in his voice was truly infectious. I kept looking around thinking I had missed something. Sure, it was a beautiful day that the Lord had made– but so is almost every day in Tahoe. As a nature lover, I couldn’t disagree– the clouds above my head, the earth below my feet. At the same time I was confused. Inside my head and heart I felt the rusted gears of my faith grind into motion. It was as if the Creator of the universe was turning the crank, breaking the dusty layers to shift my vision and give me a new perspective. It wasn’t the clouds, the trees, or the clean air I was supposed to notice. It wasn’t the earth, the plants, or the flowers stretching across the forest floor and up the edge of the lake. It wasn’t the glassy lake reflecting the mountains and their majesty. None of these things were as brilliant as what I was about to see. My thoughts continued to shift, my sight finding a new set of spectacles, until it was right in front of me.
The bluebird of happiness was singing from the heart of my best friends’ father. There was something radiating from him the likes of which I rarely see. Because of this, every last speck of creation was seen through the light of the Almighty God, and it was breath taking. Every last leaf, it’s sounds in the vespers creeping over the mountains, the veins that ran through them feeding branch and tree….
I’ve never been able to look at creation the same way. Her father had gotten some of that light, that childlike wonder all over me, like splattered paint that doesn’t wash off. Standing in a driveway, watching one of Jesus’s children go skipping down the drive to show us his father’s handiwork was– well… it’s still pretty indescribable.
What does this really have to do with bluebirds? I’m smiling as I write this. From time to time, the Lord sends a real, bonafide bluebird across my path to capture my attention. And in that moment something inside my soul whispers– Erin, look at what I’ve made for you — . In my wildest dreams, I desperately wanted to see the world the way my friend’s father saw it. I wanted to feel that excitement and joy that he felt. I wanted to be able to run into my house and drag my husband out the front door to see a sunset worthy of saying “Wow, Jesus, that’s pretty darn spectacular! Thank you for sharing,” without feeling foolish. I wanted to have, permanently perched on my shoulder, that bluebird of happiness…a pure, radiant joy that breaks through the stormy exterior. So whenever a bluebird (or a dragonfly, a really cool tree, flower, a refreshing breeze, even a perfectly pitched laugh….anything) crosses my path, my feet are trained to stop so that I may drink from the well of Joy in the presence of the Lord.
Little by little, as creation unfolds before me, I begin to digress; heart and soul re-taking that childlike state of happiness, while a tiny, feathered bluebird perches on my shoulder and boisterously sings Hallelujah from the Master’s Heart.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13