Birds of Pray

DANNY SUTTER


“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in the grave, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me.” ~Psalm 139:7-10

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When you think of driving in the Midwest, you probably picture miles of boring interstate, sandwiched between flat cornfields stretching to the horizon on both sides—broken up only by the occasional exit for a small farm community, consisting of nothing but two or three churches and a Casey's gas station, which also doubles as the only pizza joint in town.

Apart from listening to the radio, which seems to be the only way I can stay sane from the monotony of a commute or road trip, I regularly notice something that we have in abundance in Central Illinois: hawks. I see them all the time. I can almost guarantee that if you're intentional about it, you will see a red-tailed hawk perched along the highway at least every mile or two.

Now, I'm kind of into birds of prey. I don't know a lot about them from a biological perspective or anything. I can't identify different breeds like I can with dogs. Yet, at the same time, I find them fascinating, and I always have. Especially hawks and owls.

I used to live at a summer camp in the woods, and I would hear owls hooting back and forth to each other throughout the night. Sometimes, I would step outside to silence and call to them, "Hoo-hoo-hoo-HOO! Hoo-hoo-hoo-HOOOOOOO!" And very often, they would call back to me.

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Something about both birds excites me. They are massive animals, hunters, fast and fierce, silently swooping down to catch their prey. They are beautiful beasts, they are majestic, and they are everywhere. If you just use your senses, you will encounter them.

For me, these birds point to God. Not in a pantheistic, nature worship way, but they are symbols. They remind me of God's presence. On the mundane stretches of highway, God is there; I just need to open my eyes. In the night, when I feel isolated, God is there, calling out; I just need to listen and call back.

I got these two birds tattooed on my arm to be an ever-constant reminder that God is there, and God is with me. While I will probably always be able to see these birds in the wild, the tattoo reminds me of what these birds symbolize. Also, it reminds me that something can be so common and at the same time so beautiful.

What are the common everyday things that remind you of God's presence?


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If you want to know Danny, all you need to know is that he loves Jesus, his family, his friends, and music. Oh yeah, and the Chicago Cubs. You might recognize him as the big-bearded guy with John Lennon (not Harry Potter!) glasses.  



Christina Hite