Monday, February 27, 2012

The Cardinal Challenge

What is that strange flapping noise?

I slowed my pace on my power-walk around the hotel lot just after dawn last Saturday and looked around. My make-shift track circled the expansive building and at the moment, had led me to the tree-lined fence separating the parking lot from a tangle of neglected woods at the rear of the property.

Muted light was just filtering in from the east as my eyes scanned the too-early-to-be-peopled parking lot. Ah, there was the odd noise again. I honed in on a van about 15 feet away and what I saw brought me to a complete halt.

It was a male cardinal. I know it was a male because for some reason God made the male cardinal's crimson plumage dramatically brilliant while the females are duller than dishwater. It's like the boy birds are decked out in tuxedos while the girls get stuck with ratty old housecoats.

Anyhow, this little fellow was putting on quite a show, flitting about, tweeting and chirping and flirting with the beautiful bird in the large side view mirror of the van. He was completely engrossed in conversing with ... himself. He'd perch on top of the mirror for a while, pecking fetchingly at his reflection in the shiny chrome, then lean over the side, inverting himself completely upside down to catch a glimpse of the intriguing birdie in the mirror.

Then he'd swoop down and hover in front of his own reflection, giving himself little kisses and coos of admiration.

I had to laugh. It reminded me too much of some people I know.

But as I continued my early morning exercise jaunt, I started thinking that maybe we all ought to be a little more like that cardinal. Oh, I don't mean we should strive to be more self-absorbed or narcissistic, no. But at least we should have enough self-respect and love for ourselves that we that don't rue spending time in our own company. That we don't disgust ourselves so much that we turn everywhere but inward, seeking escape from ourselves through drugs, alcohol, obsessions, work, shop-til-you-drop, or whatever our evasion tactic happens to be.

I can't say that I've wooed my own reflection lately, but I have been working on cutting back on the negative self-talk and trying to view myself more as a Cinderella-in-progress than a done-deal-Shrek. To get it in my head that beaut-i-tude is fluid and when I spend time with myself and Papa God, it's a lot more productive - and fun - than leaving Him out.

So my goal for this week is to emulate my little cardinal buddy and come up with 3 things every day that I like about myself. And they can't be the same things over and over (like my slender toes, wacky sense of humor, and the fact that my teeth aren't falling out. Yet.). As creative as Papa God is, I'm sure if I dig deep, I can find 21 things to be thankful for about this Debbie girl He fashioned.

Will you take the cardinal challenge with me?     



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