Watching the Turkeys

My brother has a family of turkeys that live in the green belt behind his home. Every morning, they are in his lawn, seeking breakfast in the grass. Normally, they are already in the lawn when I get up. This morning, I had the pleasure of watching them arrive. At first, I saw a slight movement from the side of his lawn. And then, here came this little baby turkey. (Chick? Are turkey young called chicks? I don’t know, I’ll have to ask my best friend. She has a flock of them. Wait. Is it a flock of turkeys? It’s a murder of ravens. I know that one because it’s super weird. A menagerie? Whatever. I digress.) This little bitty turkey just waddles his/her way onto the lawn – eager to investigate. That one is followed by mama, who I can only describe as regal. She is a real beauty. And then, two more little chicks (yeah, I’m sticking with it now) follow her out onto the lawn. Mama gracefully struts through the grass, looking for unsuspecting bugs, calling for her babies when she finds something, and continues to forage across the lawn and into the neighbors property.

It’s been a while since I’ve stopped to watch the turkeys. It’s like this thing you know is happening – an everyday ritual – but it just happens in the background while you continue to stress about whatever the day’s given stress is. Or, sometimes it’s not even that day’s stress. Sometimes it’s something that happened weeks or months ago and you’re still going over it in your mind. Or maybe it’s your mental to do list and you’re planning your stress in advance. Whatever it is, there’s no time for turkey watching.

Last summer, I took a job as an elementary school teacher. When I started this blog, I had just left a job teaching high school journalism after our funding ran out when our grant expired. Every job I’ve ever had (journalist, teacher, advertising executive) has some with its own degree of stress. But nothing – NOTHING – stresses me more than being a mother. It’s not the same kind of stress as fearing that you’ve somehow screwed up an account for a client, or the stress  of not having a lead story for that night’s news, or the stress of not knowing if a student is truly grasping a concept you’ve been working on all quarter. No, motherhood is full of its own special stresses. Stresses like, “Are my kids growing up to be productive members of society?” “How do I get two of the three kids to point A and the third to point B at the exact same time, despite the fact they are 15 miles away from each other?” and (recently) “Will this lice infestation ever end?!”

Stress is something mamas (at the least the human ones) are good at. And if we can’t find something to stress about with our kids, we can just wait a moment because the next stress is right around the corner. But, the turkey mama – she doesn’t worry. She doesn’t stress. She just is. The fact that I got to watch her this morning with her three chicks is not lost on me. It’s the simple things – God showing me how to take a moment and relax. To smile.

I’ve been reading the same thing a lot recently in my morning devotionals – the same message but in different verses:

“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34

Or, especially fitting for today: “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” Matthew 6:26-27

So, today, I’m watching the turkeys and I’m taking note. Worry less, watch more. Don’t stress over the small things. Except the lice. But that’s a different story for another day.

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