Friday, July 15, 2022 by Sarah Schwerin
I stopped and listened for the birds, but there was only silence. Wiping the sweat from my forehead, I continued walking through the North Carolina woods. Birds don’t speak. Yet the song I had heard sounded as if a bird spoke to me.
A group of hikers approached from the opposite end of the trail. I leaned against a tree and let them pass. The bird song repeated. I turned. Twigs snapped and leaves rustled. No one in the group had spoken. Yet, the words were as clear as if my fellow travelers had spoken to me.
I continued the climb up the mountain, puffing and sweating. Was I going crazy? I was familiar with the trill of the Bob White, the honking of geese and other bird songs, but never had I heard actual words from a bird. The loneliness of the writer's life was finally getting to me. My brain was mush after the rejection from publishers and agents. I was hearing sounds that didn’t exist.
In front of me, a flight of steep metal stairs loomed. I inhaled and climbed, planning to increase my exercise regime when I returned home. Why was I hiking? I should have gone shopping.
The bird song repeated, “I need you.”
With each step, I repeated the message to myself, but knew no one needed me. My teenage boys were growing up. Soon they wouldn’t need me at all. My husband, a busy executive, enjoyed spending time with me, but didn’t need me.
A year ago, I began seriously writing and as the rejections piled up, I knew no one needed me or my words.
I reached the top of the stairs. The forest spread beneath me and above me. I inhaled the mountain air. Wildflowers outlined the stream. Tall, majestic trees reached to the cloudless sky. The sound repeated.
“I need you.”
Could God be sending me a message?
God didn’t need me. He made this beautiful world. He was all knowing, all powerful, all everything. What difference could I make?
At the top of the summit, I followed the arrow on the sign and the bird song repeated. “I need you.”
The waterfall drowned out the bird’s message. The powerful water spray cooled me and a peace settled on me.
God didn’t need me.
He can accomplish anything and everything without me. No, God doesn’t need me—He wants me.
God chose me.
I descended the mountain. My muscles were sore, but my mind was at peace. I was going back to my family. They didn’t need me, but they chose me and I chose them. I was going back to the writing and rejection, not because God needed my words but because He called me to write. He chose me.
On my trip down the mountain, I heard the bird song once again. Now the song was only notes, no longer the words I had heard. I guess God knew I didn’t need the words at that moment.
“But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted” (1 Peter 2:9-10, MSG).
Katherine Pasour From NC At 7/30/2022 3:32:53 PMI felt your sadness and mourned for you. All authors join you in the pain of rejection. Only one thing I disagree with--your family does need you and loves you.
Reply by: Sarah SchwerinThanks for reading and commenting.
Katy Kauffman From At 7/30/2022 7:26:09 AMI like it when God sends us little messages in a special way. He loves us and has a plan for us, even if we experience bumps in the journey. Keep writing, Sarah! I will too.
Reply by: Sarah SchwerinYou are so right and those bumps can become some of life's little joys.
Planner Addict: What Happens When Plans Fail
Fast Drivers and Two Brothers: When Life Isn't Fair
Looking for a Leader: Reflections from the Gettysburg Battlefield
Nap Hater: My Quest to Find Rest
Dreams of Kenya
Snow Days and Hearts that Lead Us Astray
Can I Hide From God?
Stitches and Waiting on God
God’s Voice Or The Enemy’s?
The Battles We Fight
Drowning In Fear
A Boring Bible Story, A Temple, And My Mom: A Devotion On Heaven
Does Idolatry Exist In Today’s World
A Voice In Chengdu
Word Of The Year
A New Year Challenge
A Christmas Of Firsts And Lasts
Christmas And The Suffering Servant: Hope For Abuse Survivors
The Day I Stopped Watching Horror Movies
By Sarah - Life Lessons
I Messed Up, Again
My Tribe: Autism Moms Are The Best
When Words Wound
When Innocent People Suffer
The Voices In My Head
The Process Not The Product
Hidden Snacks, Ice Cream, And Fairness
You Never See The Potato Masher Coming
The Unnamed Victim
Left Handed Hero