Two weeks ago I had an incident that hit me really hard and actually made things worse. It won't make sense to some, heck, it didn't make sense to me but after a lot of thought I've come to understand it a little better. And since it was a part of this insanity, I'm going to write about it here.
At dinner one night on our screened porch a little bird had landed on our feeder. It is just maybe two feet from the table that we eat most meals at. As I was watching him he literally flew at us and hit the screen and then began to struggle to fly at all. I knew something was wrong with the little bird but he managed to fly onto a lower limb in a tree close by so we finished up with dinner and went inside. The next morning I went out and began to look around for him. In a few minutes I saw the still struggling little bird had managed to get down the hill from the house into some low-growing juniper and had apparently found refuge in the thick greenery there on the ground. He caught my eye as he hopped upward fluttering around trying to fly up from the ground and get airborne. No more than three minutes after I walked out to try and find him he fluttered up and then right back down and right into our lake! I panicked. Screaming for my husband to go get a dip net or the little Jon boat and come and get him out. It hopped up and down in the water but the little wings that already weren’t working too well were now wet and he could only manage a few inches before he fell back into the water. I stood on the side of the bank calling to him trying to give him some bearings as to where land was; hoping he could limp his way to the bank or that my husband could get the dip net there in time. The little bird continued to struggle and I found myself praying out loud for God to please not let the little bird die. Let me be able to save him and not watch him struggle and then die right in front of me. I just did not think I could take anymore death. The little bird sat there struggling about five minutes and then he just got still, and quietly rolled under the water.
I just lost it.
Sobbing hysterically and literally railing at God and my husband and life in general. I cried on and off for a solid week - over a dead bird. Later when I’d calmed down while trying to make sense of my crazed reaction to an obviously sick or injured bird, I realized in some ways the little bird represented so much more to me. The whole episode made me think of what I’d said about the survivor from a shipwreck I described in an earlier post (Shipwrecked). The little bird did just like I said the survivor would do when all hope was lost – it struggled until it’s will to live depleted and it then just gave up and quietly slipped under the water. At the time, I wrote that, I completely understood the fight to live as long as you had hope but when you saw your hopes of living through your crisis dashed over and over and though you prayed --help never came. And death loomed large on the horizon. At some point, just for the relief you would just quit fighting and quietly let go. To me, in some crazy way the little bird represented my struggle to make it through this though I continue to hope and pray for relief nothing gets better and I think I loosely equated his fate with mine.
The following week – one week to the day exactly after the little bird drowned, I was driving home from work and a mile from home in the middle of the road sat a little bird. I assumed it would fly away to safety when I got closer but as I passed I realized I had not seen him move. When I looked back in the rear view mirror, the little bird though only a foot away as my car went past at about 30 MPH - just sat there.He was almost on the yellow line right in the middle of the road. I stopped the car and put it in reverse, backed up expecting to find the little bird actually dead or broken but there it sat --huddled down and looking terrified but alive. I got out of the car and reached for the little bird. It sat there still while I picked it up but as soon as I did he lowered his head and closed his eyes. I drove the rest of the way home holding the tiny injured bird in one hand figuring he wouldn’t live fifteen minutes but after the prior week --I just had to try. I came home and fixed him a little box with some tree limbs and leaves in it; warmed a hand towel in the dryer and made a little “nest” and sat the little bird in the center surrounded by the warmth of the towel. Immediately he opened his eyes and started looking around. I put him on my screened porch where all the birds outside were feeding, chirping, flying around just on the other side of the screen and left him while I went to change clothes and start dinner. About twenty minutes later I went out to check on the little bird half expecting him to have died but instead I couldn’t find him. He wasn’t in the box anywhere. I looked around and there he sat on the ledge of the porch three feet above the box! I went to pick him up and he flew to the other side of the porch where his feet got stuck in the screen. I walked over and carefully unhung his nails from the screen and set him outside on the deck rail and to my delight he promptly flew away!
What does it all mean? I'm not completely sure but I do feel that he was another gift.