Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Kingdom of God (03/12/09)
TITLE: Summer with Mr. Chip
By C Harricharan
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It is truly a wonderful thing to be able to sail over rooftops, or to perch on the topmost branch of the tallest tree in the woods. The wonder of it is, even the tiniest of our feathered friends will one day be a better flyer than I. Yet all this is made possible without going to flight school or taking correspondence courses on surviving in the great outdoors. How does a bird know where to find food or water in the winter? Who taught them to fly? These are questions I have asked myself many times as I observe the birds around me.
One summer I was given the opportunity to get a fleeting look into this mystery. A baby bird was literally dropped into our midst when my son brought it home one evening, a lost nestling too weak to be left outside during the night. He cradled it in his palm, no feathers, and hardly breathing, with eyes closed it looked very helpless. There was nothing cute and attractive about it, but someone was watching over it. A power greater than us had led the boys in the dim light of dusk to discover the fading cries for help. Someone had instilled in their hearts, a desire to help.
We became family to this baby bird. With a shoebox for a crib and a heat lamp for warmth, it was settled for the night. Feeding time was every hour for the first two weeks until bedtime at eight PM, when it was put to bed and the lights were turned down. It was very much like having an infant in the home. It must be fed on schedule, the shoebox cleaned and lights out after dark. Sad to say this did not last. Soon our baby bird wanted out of the shoe box, then out of the bigger box that replaced the shoe box. It would sit on the edge of the box and observe the family as we went by, calling out to us ever so often. Frequent outdoor trips were fun for everyone. Since its gender was unknown and he behaved like one of the boys, we named it Mr. Chip. Mr. Chip loved playing on the lawn. He would scratch and peck until he was tired, then sit and sleep for an hour or so, then start all over again, while one of us kept watch over it.
There was a time when I despaired whether he would ever learn to eat on his own. To my great astonishment, Mr. Chip knew just how to catch a bug and what fruits to eat without any help from us. He loved seeds. How does a bird know where to find food? I still donít know. They just do. Our little Mr. Chip developed a fine pair of wings and we were witnesses to his first flight. I still think he was just as amazed as we were, to discover that he could fly. There was no stopping him after that. With flight, came independence, a maiden flight to the top of the tallest pine tree and staying out all night. It is still a mystery to me where Mr. Chip spent his first night out and how he kept dry from the rain.
My fondest memory of Mr. Chip is walking outside and having him fly out of the trees and sit on my shoulder, from where he would talk to me in cheeps. I wished I knew what he was saying.
Taking care of Mr. Chip taught me what it meant to be watched over and not forgotten, just like in the Kingdom of Heaven where God keeps watch over all of His creations. I like to think that in my life, help comes when I am in need, because He keeps a watchful eye on me. Just like He did for Mr. Chip. Not because of anything I do, but because of His plans for me.
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