On a beautiful day in October 1995 my kids and I walked up to Coit Tower, and San Francisco’s marauding parrots flew in, shrieking and squawking. It was thrilling and today the three of us remember everything about it.
For many years a fellow named Mark Bittner had been feeding and studying the parrots and later was featured in a documentary and wrote a memoir called “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill: A Love Story…with Wings.” Much of the book describes his relationship with the parrots but also Bittner’s deep spiritual struggle to find his own purpose in life as he befriended the parrots but at the same time never succeeded in becoming the musician he thought he should be, never had a permanent home, and never had a true companion.
In the end, through a very long path over many years, these three longings were resolved. On the last page of his narrative he writes,
“For many years, I’d felt as though I were on a death march across an endless desert. And although, in the end, I received everything I asked for, I know that life is not about getting what you want. You can want the wrong things. Because I’d once invested all my energy into becoming something I wasn’t suited to be—a musician—I lost my way for the longest time. Each of us has a true nature, the real laws of our being, and that inner nature will always receive what is appropriate to it as long as we’re honest with ourselves.”
We are now focused on our church work to re-discover and clarify our true nature as a faith community—the vision of who we are and who we want to serve. The work of the Site and Social Justice teams, every worship service, and every pastoral care visit require this. Our calls to guest preachers, our interim minister, and ultimately to our settled pastor require it.
In this time of transition it’s assuring to accept that promise the real laws of our being are governing and know that we will receive what is appropriate for us because of these two truths: we have the ability to be honest with ourselves and we have always demonstrated a pure desire to serve others. It’s an exciting time.
Peter Sass, Moderator