The Sparrow's Table: The Longing for Safety and Trust

"The metaphor of the small bird, fragile, yet filled with exuberance and drawn by simple, childlike trust to the Source of all goodness, was used by the artists of the early holy cards to represent the soul’s relationship to Our Lord and Our Lady, to the Blessed Trinity, to the angels and to prayer."--From Nest of Doves

"The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure and merriment, He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bath, or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home." --C.S. Lewis (HT to

The top qoute is one i've been very drawn to lately. And the bottom qoute is one i came across recently and almost included in the previous post on joy. But in the end i took it off becuase it increasingly bothered me. Joy is precious. It is also, compared to safety and security, very easy. Take day to day life. The joy of play can happen in a minute, the security of owning a home takes time and effort and work. The quick fix from a yummy snack treat is much easier to make happen than the consistant nourishment of truly nourishing meals. As precious and treasured as joy is, it's "cheap" so to speak compared to safety. Joy is lovely icing--but security feels more the cake.

And for women especially, safety is at the heart of things i think. We are designed to be under headship (a double headship of not only from God but also man) which is meant to be provident, protective--safety and security are a huge part of that. The double headship thing is really important there i feel. A man might need this providence and protection more only from above--but the very nature of a double headship seems to say with bells on that a woman (and also all children) need it right here and now from those in thier actual life too, and thats nothing to gloss over. I could very well see Adam, knowing deep down all he needs is headship from above, overfocusing on joy, the easier goal, at the expense of focusing on a secure and protective care of those under his headship. And in fact i suspect that's exactly what happened (see
here for a good article on some of this). I suspect that led to the "curses" they were given that sure do seem to be about healing Adam's lack of giving headship and Eve's blocks in opening to it...and for their sons and daughters too. So while i usually love Lewis's stuff, this qoute on excusing the lack of safety rather than trying to remedy it, well it just rubs me the wrong way.

This is the core frustration of my life really, this longing for safety. It took a blow just recently too when my partner broke his arm. It gives him a needed break i'm thankful for (his job was getting mega stressful and something had to give, plus at least it was only a broken arm and he's safe) but it also brings more---now we will suddenly be without thousands of dollars we were counting on for both bills and saving for land--he has to take some unpaid time off while it does its basic healing, then (hopefuly) finish out the season with a less physical and lower paying position with his company. He did not hurt his arm on the job, and his work is seasonal, so forget about any sort of support or buffering for the loss, we have to absorb it all. And this ever eluding security has been the hardest part of my life, looking all the way back. I could usually find joy, but not security. The security and safety of home was mega unstable...but i'd escape on long walks in nature or long journeys in books or bliss out on chocolate, to find joy to make it bearable. Its been that way throughout really--i usually seem to have the means for the little joyful thingsbut the bigger things of the deeper needs...a stable home, eating with consistent real nourishment, peace and quiet, clean air, etc...these things i find elude more. The buffering and smoothing the edges that joy brings to help is so very precious....but is it enough? Can it take root for long without safety?

And ever notice something about spiritual attack...its the truly basic security stuff that gets hit the deepest it seems... our health, our clean water and air, our physical security, our emotional security of commitedness and trustability, our peace and quiet, our roots, our kindness. The deep stuff. The devil doesnt seem to care about knocking out "the fun stuff"...our sugar rushes, our kicking back with our mind candy treats, our parties or vacations, the cute or glittery flashy stuff in our life, gathering for small talk, or having a bunch of Sharper Image electronic toys and the like. That "fun stuff" he leaves alone it seems becuase its not dangerous to him really. Our true safety and security is what is dangerous to him i feel, because when we are physically or emotionally safe then we can relax and open more deeply to God. When you pull that away we often have less of an opening to relax and feel God's presence deeply and so we can panick, turn to substitutes, are more likely to walk through the enemy's beckoning door.

So what has happened over time i feel is we have been fed a belief that the luxuries in life, the excesses, are necessities...and that the real necessities are luxuries. Its not hard to see, we think for example that being able to buy prepackaged food and addictive stuff like cigarettes is a basic right, a necessity, a given, and yet the REAL necessities of things like actual clean air and peace and quiet are somehow seen as a luxury...if they werent seen that way then we would have them. This reversed belief of luxuries and necessities is so strong we dont even realize its just a belief anymore, thats what i feel there anyway, and it scares me. And safety and security, these are not luxuries.

I do really feel the above. Yet i also go back and forth on some of this security stuff in the sense that we also see the lives of various saints who who were still joyful without much visible security, folks like St Clare (her feastday is today) for instance. Catherine Doherty also has a term she calls "holy insecurity", her belief that even insecurity is holy and healing under God and so we should just trust in Him through it. I get drawn and repelled by views like this. Repelled becuase its so easy with views like this to ignore making needed changes to heal things ...oh, there's all this pain and insecurity, its okay, just live and let live ...when its not okay at all and we are supposed to carry one another's burdens and be God's hands for each other. And yet also drawn at the same time because of "sparrowness".

Sparrowness as in "His eye is on the sparrow". Take what recently happened, the joy thing is pulling there too in a sense, its like a little bird that must be heared, gently insistant like a bird who keeps fluttering by my window. The little bird speaks of what just happened with my partner's work. But he's safe says the little bird called Joy. And he's recovering his balance (he was working way too hard and i was getting worried about it getting too intense). So the bird Joy is saying to me, but look look, he is well, he is safe. Look, look he is your home.

And isnt that what headship is when it comes down to it? Eve being Adam's rib and knowing her home is in him...and both of their homes are in God. But i also feel fear well up at the lack of physical security now...again. I am reaching for trust and i alternate between hope and fear. So i'm a jumble of feelings here, maybe i should have waited to post. But there it is. I long for a joyful table, i long for a safe table. A safe secure table.

In many ways security is my deepest joy. But what if our deepest security is also connected with simply joy at the same time somehow? Its all still a jumble, so i thought i'd end with the lovely simplicity of the sparrow song, i just love this one, from
here ...


Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


(alternative first verse) Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows fall
Why should my heart be troubled, When all but hope is gone?
when Jesus is my fortress. My constant friend is He.
His eye is on the Sparrow, and I know He watches me.
His eye is on the Sparrow, and I know He watches me

(Image from

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