|Monkeys have different warnings for snakes|
Even over the winter there are always birds around the fields: magpies, crows, wood pigeons, and collared doves. In the hedges of the field margins are songbirds of all shapes and sizes, and in the skies or in the trees are my favourite birds of all, our local buzzards.
The other morning on our walk, Viking and I had once again spotted one of the buzzards atop a telegraph pole staking out moles in the fallow field below. I always feel happy when we spot one of the buzzards, and after only a short linger to watch him, we carried on our way. A few minutes later I turned back to see the buzzard gliding over the field towards the woods. At his approach, diverse alarm calls from other birds rang out, and pigeons burst from the trees in all directions to get out of the way. The buzzard lazily flapped a couple of times before gliding off into the distance, shortly followed by his mate from another direction, both seeking out air thermals on which to soar.
"Alarms often warn us of danger, like the birds at the approach of the buzzard"Alarms often warn us of danger, like the birds' calls at the approach of the buzzard. Some animals have different alarm calls for different predators, like vervet monkeys which have distinct calls for leopards, snakes and eagles. Warning alarms tell you when it's dangerous to stay where you are, like on a railway crossing, or behind a large reversing vehicle.
In a previous house, our smoke alarms were programmed to beep when the battery needed testing or changing, emitting individual high pitched "pips" every couple of minutes until action was taken. Invariably the battery seemed to run out in the middle of the night and I'd be dragged from deep sleep into bleary wakefulness to stumble downstairs in search of a screwdriver and 9v battery.
"Warning alarms tell you when it's dangerous to stay where you are"Our most recent car seat for our young son came with an extra feature, a feature which in hindsight we'd have happily done without - it emits a helpful beep, in the same high pitched note of a smoke alarm, when the seatbelt isn't strapped in. I can honestly say that we've never forgotten to strap our son in when he's been in the car - so this special feature only ever goes off when the car seat is empty, and usually when you least expect it. Sadly it's not obvious how to remove the battery without irreparably damaging the clasp, probably designed to make it baby proof - however we never plan to get a car seat with this special feature again!
I'm not a pilot, but I've watched enough films to know that many planes have systems which alert pilots if they're flying too low and therefore in danger of hitting an obstacle or the ground. If that kind of alarm goes off then the action you need to take is to gain altitude - fly higher.
"We sometimes need an alarm bell to wake us up, tell us the day has begun, to remind us we need to act."
|Is your alarm going off?|
I'm not a person that generally needs alarms to wake up, but usually our neighbours' alarm goes off around the time I need to get up anyway, so it's not entirely unwelcome. We sometimes need an alarm bell to wake us up, tell us the day has begun, to remind us we need to act.
The thing is, alarms are only effective if we are attentive to them. So many of our alarms require us to be able to hear - for people who aren't able to hear they are less effective or not effective at all. That's why another important type of assistance dog is a hearing dog, who will alert their owner to take necessary action to sounds they're unable to hear.
Are there any alarms going off in your life that you need to become aware of again? Perhaps a regular beep telling you that your batteries are low? Has anything in your environment changed that you need to be aware of and take action? Is it safe to stay where you are or do you need to move? Perhaps you're flying too low in terms of what you're capable of, and you're called to higher altitude. Maybe you simply need to wake up, to take action of some kind.
"Are there any alarms going off in your life that you need to become aware of again?"One beep I've had to pay attention to over the last few months is the beep of busyness, and I've needed to take evasive action to avoid a crash, and adjust the pace of some of my commitments, scale back in a few areas. What do you need to be reminded of? What beeping do you need to hear?
|Are you still listening?|
I've not been visited by an angel myself that I'm aware of, but from the stories of angelic visitation I read in the Bible, it's quite an alarming experience, hence their usual opening line "do not be afraid". Sometimes we're deafened by our fears, or distractions which drown out the things that are calling us to action, to fly higher, to wake up.
"Maybe there's something in your life that you've stopped believing in, a bell, an alarm that's been muted for whatever reason"I heard a great quote this week from Steve Maraboli, he said this: "Think of what makes you smile, makes you happy... and do more of that stuff".
The things we're passionate about, the things that make us happy, the things that make us feel truly alive are a function of how we're wired by a loving creator God. For Eric Liddell, the hero of the true story behind Chariots of Fire it was running. Even though he felt called to become a missionary to China, he expressed his passion well when we said "when I run I feel his pleasure".
So who or what is trying to get your attention? Are you receptive to your divine calling? There's a line in the Psalms that's always stood out to me, and it's this: "Today if you hear his voice don't harden your hearts".
Perhaps today's the day to act, to believe, to hear, to move rather than block your ears or harden your heart. The starter gun's fired and it's time to run your race.
"Who or what is trying to get your attention? Are you receptive to your divine calling?"
Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts on alarm bells! If you've enjoyed it why not share it with your friends on social media? Why not subscribe to The Potting Shed Podcast on iTunes for a weekly dose of creative inspiration?
I'd love to hear from you, so feel free to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org