God in the Mistake

The package left at the front door looked suspicious. It was too small to be what I was expecting, but a glance at the address label verified it was for me. That much was a relief.

I wouldn’t have to walk it to the neighbors ten houses away. We often got their packages by mistake. One time I opened my door and saw half a dozen boxes for them. The largest boasted an outdoor grill was inside. My husband and I, in our strongest concerted effort, couldn’t lift that. So he fetched two young men from the rightful house to pick up their merchandise.

They seemed surprised we had not kept the grill for ourselves. Why? It was no more than what the pair had done for me a few years earlier. They backed their car into our driveway and unloaded my jewelry armoire, which had been left on their porch.

Okay, I was satisfied today’s package had come to the right place. But was it from the right place? Yes. The return address was my pet supplier. Obviously, though, this box did not hold the eighteen pounds of dog food I had ordered. Nevertheless, I felt it was safe to bring the featherweight package inside my home.

There my imagination was stretched to its limit as I saw clustered yellowy bits that didn’t want to stay attached to something that looked like rope strands or sticks or–who knew? I hastily stuffed the flighty mysterious mess back into the box. Then I made the phone call that would answer my questions.

The customer service rep said I had been sent bird millet spray.millet spray She told me I could keep it, which presented another problem. I didn’t own a bird. Alas, flying down a mental checklist of friends, relatives, and acquaintances near and far, I didn’t find any who lived with a winged bird.

While browsing in a resale store sometime later, a cute brand-new bird feeder caught my eye. I would have been a birdbrain not to snatch it up when I saw the four-dollar price tag.

Back home I took the box with the millet spray off a garage shelf. As if I were milking a cow, I pushed the seeds from each stem. With the bird feeder full, I hung it on a cast-iron shepherd’s hook outside the kitchen nook. Then the fun began!bird feeder

Before I knew it, birds had finished off the millet. So I hopped over to the closest grocery store and bought a bag of wild bird seed. Henceforth, I made the feathered friends wait for their food until our mealtimes. My husband and I wanted the pleasure of their company while we ate.

Birds of many feathers–among them doves (mourning, ring-necked, white-winged), sparrows, cardinals, mockingbirds, brown-headed cowbirds, finches, blue jays–visited the feeder. Once, between bird feedings, I saw a squirrel hanging on it upside down eating leftovers.

When I think about how the bird feeder came into our lives, I credit it to God’s permissive will. Whatever happens to us is first filtered through God. In this instance a shipping error ended up bringing daily delight to a couple of seasoned seniors. I am convinced God meant the “mistake” for fun!


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