The Ruffled Bird
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The Ruffled Bird
I have walked through life believing that nothing happens in God's world by accident, and that this life is all about learning spiritual lessons that come in all manner of different ways. That being said, I had the strangest encounter today that has left me a bit puzzled and wondering what the meaning of this little drama could be. Perhaps in the sharing, the purpose or message will emerge.
Today was a lovely spring day, sunny and mild. In the afternoon, I decided to take a little walk around the block so that I could do a bit of shopping in a little produce store on the next street. Up the street and around the corner, a strange sight caught my eye. Atop the roof of a car, parked along the curb, sat a bird. Now this was not your average, every day, run-of-the-mill bird. It looked like it had just popped out of a dryer, feathers all puffed out and askew, as if maybe it had just been in a great scuffle. As I passed by, the bird did not move. I half expected it to keel over, dead, actually. It struck me as kind of bizarre. I just stared at it as I passed, but kept walking, rounded the next corner and headed for my little produce store.
After purchasing what I needed for a nice salad, I crossed the street and stopped at a little bakery, where I bought a couple loaves of fresh bread, then headed back home the way I had come. As I rounded the last corner, I noticed my little bird friend walking down the side of the road ahead of me. He was limping a little, was still ruffled, and I noticed a patch, about the size of a quarter, on his back between his wings, that was bare of feathers...a bald spot, if you will. I thought to myself, "Poor little bird! He must be hurt. Why would he be walking, unless he can't fly. Hmmm...looks like he's been in a cat fight, and the cat got the best of him...wonder if I should try and catch him...nawww he'll just fight and hurt himself more...besides, what could I possibly do for him?"
I slowed down my pace so that I could watch this bird. He was limping along with a rather slow, unsteady gait, but moving forward, all the same, along the side of the road next to the long row of cars that were parked along the curb. He had managed to get all the way down the street from his car perch around the corner. I was amazed. About the time I thought to myself, "Gee, I hope he doesn't get hit by a car...", this crazy little critter took a notion to cross the road! When he was two thirds of the way across, along came a silver van that, upon seeing him, tried to dodge the bird, hence, driving over top of him. As I held my breath in horror, I was riveted to the concrete sidewalk, mesmerized by what looked like the poor bird's demise.
In a flash, beneath the rear of the van, between the tires, the bird appeared, on his feet. The right rear tire came so close to that bird that it looked to me like the tire actually brushed his beak and ran over his little claws, which it fortunately did not do. Then the van was gone, and there stood the bird, who hesitated for but a split second, then kept on plodding toward the curb. Within a moment or two, I watched this tenacious little creature hop up onto the curb, and continue on his journey to who knows where, hobbling along as if nothing had happened.
I had stepped into the road to watch all of this and stood there stunned, with my mouth open, as my mind just buzzed with all kinds of different thoughts. "Poor injured little bird, can't fly, can barely walk, comes so close to getting hit by a car and smooshed, just keeps on keepin on, puttin one little birdie foot in front of the other. Wonder where he's going. Wonder if he knows..." It was truly a sight to behold. Then the thought occurred to me that maybe this little bird had a message for me.
Life has been pretty challenging for me, as it is for most of us, and if it had not been for my strong faith in God, and lots of His Grace along the way, I'm sure I would not be here to tell this tale. Lately, due to some health issues and circumstantial changes, neither of which I am fond, I have been feeling pretty beat up and tired; ruffled and battered, just like that raggedy little bird. Discouragement and fear press in, and the thought of giving up dances around in my head.
Sure looked like that little bird had had a rough time of it. He looked plenty battered, beaten up, and tired but that did not deter him. Even the near death experience with the passing van didn't phase him. He didn't hesitate but a moment, then just kept plodding onward. God's Strength and Grace sustained him, just as it has always sustained me. I can trust that the Hand of the Master will continue to sustain me, regardless of whatever bumps and bruises, or silver vans may come my way. My job is to trust God and persevere, just like that little bird. Trust God and persevere. Hmm...Now, how's that for an emerging message?
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