Thursday, June 28, 2007

Are You Cuckoo?

I don’t hear it much anymore but when I was a child and someone said or did something that was considered outside the accepted norm we would say that they were cuckoo in the head.
I looked it up and found that it is still a valid expression. ‘Cuckoo head’ refers to someone who is silly, stupid, not quite with it – someone who doesn’t reason well.

I never understood why the poor cuckoo bird should be so insulted… until last night when we caught a nature show on TV documenting the intertwining lives of the cuckoo and the parrotbill.

The documentary focused on the birds’ season of breeding, nesting and raising their young.

The cuckoo is a heartless bird, taking advantage of others and has no inclination towards responsibility.
Rather than go to the trouble of building its own nest and accepting responsibility for its young, it simply waits until a parrotbill mother is off looking for food and then quickly lays an egg in her nest. The cuckoo egg is larger than the parrotbill’s eggs but if the color is fairly close she does not notice and incubates the cuckoo’s egg along with her own.
The cuckoo’s egg hatches first, giving it a head start in demanding to be fed.
However, the cuckoo chick is not content to share the food or the nest with the legitimate offspring of the parrotbill.
As soon as it is hatched it begins to push and strain against the other eggs to push them out of the nest.
If some eggs hatch before his task is complete, then the cuckoo bird cruelly pushes the newly hatched chicks out too. Of course they have no chance of survival out of the nest. The baby cuckoo is not called ‘little devil’ for nothing.
The mother parrotbill does make an effort to protect her babies by spreading her wings over the nest to keep them from being pushed out, but the ‘little devil’ does not give up until the nest is exclusively his.

The faithful mother parrotbill continues to feed the cuckoo bird as though it is her own. It does not take long until the cuckoo chick is larger than the parrotbill and the mother’s efforts to find enough food for her ravenous chick is exhausting work.
She continues to feed it even after it is out of the nest and could easily fend for itself. But the cuckoo ‘little devil’ is reluctant to fend for itself as long as its squawking brings the little parrotbill mother to its side, her beak full of food. But finally it becomes dissatisfied with the amount of food the parrotbill is able to provide and flies away.

The documentary stirred up strong emotions within me. I was so angry with the cuckoo bird and felt so sorry for the poor little parrotbill mother and her own sacrificed little brood.
She was the picture of sweetness and mother love, so faithful and diligent to make sure the impostor chick was well looked after. I would have been happy if she had abandoned the ‘little devil’ still in the nest and left him to die - he certainly deserved it!!

But then, as so often happens with lessons from God’s creation….I realized that here too was something God was showing us….and before I was too quick to condemn the cuckoo bird I needed to ask myself the question, “Am I cuckoo?”

The devil has indeed sown his seed into every human heart.
Mankind is self-focused, sinful creatures grasping to fulfill their own needs without concern for others.
Human nature demands what is not his and uses others to get what he wants.
God’s gifts are taken for granted and squandered on selfish pursuits.
There is no thankfulness toward God.
If things go wrong, God is blamed,
if things go right, God is forgotten.

I think mankind is undeniably cuckoo!!

Yet how like the parrotbill is God. Even though man kills and destroys the things God loves, He patiently reaches out in love and nourishes , feeds and cares for the good and the evil.
In the parrotbill we see the gentleness of God, the faithfulness of God and His mercy that endures so long!
Until the ‘cuckoo-man’ flies away, God woos and calls him unto Himself.
No man will ever stand before God and say, “You did not care for me!”

We have done nothing to deserve God's love!
We are indeed children of the devil, yet God chooses us and adopts us to be His own.

God’s own Son was pushed out of His Heavenly Nest to die on this earth in order to make ‘room’ for us to be His !!
God was amazingly willing to pay the price!!

Thinking of the picture of the parrotbill and the cuckoo - does it not fill you with humble gratitude for the unspeakable gift of God’s loving kindness towards us??

“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures…..”
(Psalm 26:7,8)


Lovella said...

Indeed I feel tremendous gratitude. I do believe I used that phrase a time or two and no doubt others used it on me.
I hadn't heard it for years, thank for the memory.

betty r said...

I sometimes skip over from Lovella's blog to read yours..and really enjoy your "pearls" of wisdom.
Yes I too remember the phrase "are you cuckoo", more often it was "you are cuckoo".
I did not know that about the cuckoo bird and I appreciated the comparison to mankind...we can learn from that dratted bird..who would'a thought??