Why We Need Friends -- Lessons from a Lovebird

This is Juju. She shares my birthday and has been my daughter's pet since Kristen was 10.  A Peach-faced Lovebird, she's one of the smallest members of the parrot family.

True to their name, Lovebirds are extremely affectionate. They give little birdie kisses and enjoy having their heads rubbed. When my daughter was looking for a low-maintenance pet she could shower with affection, Juju fit the bill (no pun intended).

Because solo Lovebirds bond to their owners in place of a spouse, when Kristen moved away and was unable to take Juju with her, the relationship responsibility fell to me.

I thought I'd been doing a pretty good job as a surrogate spouse, but she gradually began a very bad habit -- feather plucking. When I took her to the vet, he confirmed my fears. "She's probably bored, and a little bit lonely," he said.

"But I take her out of the cage, let her ride around on my shoulder, rub her head, and give her all her favorite fruits. . . " I said in frustration.

"You're doing a great job," he said, "but you are not a flock."

He explained that in the wild, Lovebirds travel in flocks. They eat, fly, and scavenge together. They are social creatures who thrive on community.

Christians are a lot like Lovebirds. While we can do life solo, we're much happier together. We need a flock. God designed us that way. "So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another" (Romans 12:5).

We need each other to multiply our joy, divide our sorrow, and share our loads. We need to eat together, fly together, and work together. 

Proverbs 27:9 gives us a glimpse of the sweetness of one of the benefits of Christian friendship,  "Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from his earnest counsel."

To meet Juju's needs for friendship and entertainment, I had to find her a flock. Since I couldn't bring her to the flock, I brought the flock to her. 

I relocated her cage beside the window and hung two bird feeders outside. On warmer days, I open the window, but even through the glass, she can hear a multitude of birds chattering as they come and go from the feeder. She squawks and chirps to them all day long.

Her feathers have begun to grow back, and she's so tired when the sun goes down that she tucks her little head and sleeps until the sunbeams awaken her at dawn.

In addition to the local birds that now keep Juju company, she's picked up another faithful friend. Attracted by all the coming and going at the window, Winston was standing on his hind legs watching the action. I placed a chair for him next to Juju's cage, and now they watch the birds (and an occasional squirrel) together.

What about you? Are you trying to live solo when you need a flock? I challenge you not to miss the joy of doing life in Christian community. Commit today to do something to connect with a Bible study, ministry, or church. You'll realize, like Juju, that life is better when you share it with friends. 

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  1. Love juju! She matches your walls. :)

  2. What a great idea! My parents have a green cheacked conure that is in a similar situation, my sister lives in an apartment. I'm going to mention this to them.

  3. Juju looks great. I had a lovebird for 15 years. They are great birds. Glad she likes her new arrangement.

  4. Oh, Lori,
    I love Juju! We had lovebirds and cockatiels when we were first married and I miss them. This is a delightful analogy to the human soul. It reminds me of Hebrews 10: 25~ "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

  5. I'm so glad you finished up the post by telling us how Juju is doing now and how you solved her problem. And yes, point taken about needing Christian fellowship. Our church has gone through much trauma in the past three years, and often I just don't feel like going. I have fellowship with Christian friends, attend an in-home Bible study, but guess I need to get more involved with church...

  6. Yes, I love having a flock too...of Christian ladies to fellowship with. Thanks for sharing this. You made such a great comparison.

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