This morning on my way to work I noticed a few birds in the middle of the road. I noticed that one was on her back and I swerved to avoid running her over. At first I was a little disturbed as I could hear the other birds screeching as I drove by. I thought they were attacking her as I know they can be very territorial. I glanced back and thought that I saw the downed birds legs move. And just at that moment, I saw the other bird desperately trying to pull her out of the middle of the road. She was too big, my heart sank. I slowed to a stop, put the car in reverse, turned around and pulled back up on the birds. The two beside her cautiously backed off but didn’t go far. As I looked at her, I could see her labored breathing and imagined the kind of panic that must be going through her. (Yes, I believe all creatures were created with feelings, emotions and thoughts). I had to move her out of the road before she got hit by a car. I could not let her lie there and wait for the worst. I grabbed a jacket I keep in my passenger seat for the chilly days at work and slowly stepped out of my car. Again, she was a big bird. I didn’t know if she would struggle, fear my presence or even try to fight. All I knew was that I couldn’t let her lay there and go about my day as if I hadn’t seen her. I slowly knelt down, gently scooped her up in my jacket and walked her over to the sidewalk. She was looking at me, still breathing heavily and seemingly relieved at the same time. She didn’t fight, but kept an ever so watchful eye on me. The two of us, both a little distraught, had just formed a sort of trust. my eyes scoured our surroundings until I spotted a ledge that was almost as tall as me. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a welcomed alternative to hard pavement in oncoming traffic. The ground on top of the ledge was covered with bushes, trees and softer ground. It was high enough to keep the passing dogs out for their morning walk away. The shelter of the bushes would keep her from the watchful eyes of predators and shade her as she got her bearings. At the very least she might be able to close her eyes and be partially comfortable. It would have to do. As I gently laid her down. She tried to get her legs to work. She was unsteady and wobbly and still breathing heavily. I prayed for her (yes I know, she’s a bird….read your bible, God loves and takes care of birds too) and slowly backed away. I prayed that if she was dazed from hitting a car window that she would recover quickly and fly off, or that if she was severely injured that she would die peacefully while resting. I knew the rest was up to her and God.
I thought about that silly bird all day. You see, blackbirds and I have a history. I love them. Mostly because of a Beatles song. It’s my favorite song. It has it’s own beautiful history, however, in my life it has deep meaning. It has helped me through some struggles, it has come into my meditations during prayer, it’s an encouragement that no matter how dark my days get that I can still learn to fly. “take these broken wings and learn to fly, all your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise”. Its an encouragement that one day I will get that moment to be free….free from my baggage, free from my hurts, free from my self. Blackbird, fly…..please fly, I thought about it all day. I hoped that when I arrived home and went for a walk, she would have flown away.
When I did finally arrive home, I couldn’t take the wondering. I prepared my heart for whatever was left, whether it be that she was no longer alive or that she was gone….hopefully because she found freedom and spread her wings and soared. I gathered up my two dogs and set out to go on a walk, directly past the “ledge”. As I came to the spot where I had silently left her I found that she was no longer there. Not a trace. I’m not going to pretend that I know what happened, or the outcome. However, I am going to choose to believe that she received freedom. Either way, she is free and not suffering. That is my hope and that is my “want” for her. Maybe because that is my hope and want for me.
I can’t help but picture myself in her position…..laying there stunned by the events of my life. No other human being can help me. They may try, but the weight of “me” is too big. It’s going to take someone bigger. As scary as it is, I have to learn to trust. Through my anxiety, my racing heart, my pain and my fear…I have to let the creator of the universe gently scoop me up and lift me above the mess that I am stuck in, safely shelter me and believe that He is only there to help me and not hurt me. His heart breaks when He sees me struggle. He refuses to leave me behind. He comes back for me again and again. He lets me try and stand on my own, unsteady and nervous, but stays by my side to make sure I don’t fall off the ledge. God is so kind, so patient, so gentle. I know He’s got me, as fearful of the next chapter as I am, as broken and anxious as my heart feels, I know He’s got me. He is teaching me to see….He is teaching me to fly….He is teaching me what it means to be free.
“Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” Luke 12:24