Yesterday, my tender hearted, animal loving, 9 year old found a baby bird. An ugly thing with eyes sealed shut. It had fallen nearly 3 stories from it's nest in the top of one of our tallest trees. Really, the fact that it survived the fall was a bit miraculous. My son made a little nest for it, and gently placed in a smaller, shorter tree. He tended to it all day, quietly checking in on it, and even feeding it bugs as it chirped with a wide open mouth.
I googled "how to rescue baby bird".
We tried to figure out its breed. We tried to feed it water, and egg, as per internet info.
When my husband got home, he tried to put it back up in it's nest, but the nest was just too darn high.
So, the bird came inside the house, while we tried to feed it egg when it squawked...
After the kids went to bed, and I realized the little baby starling was breathing shallowly, and would not likely live much longer I began to google again.
I googled "how to kill a baby bird".
The methods were all quick, all heart breakingly gruesome. Scissors and boots and plastic bags and freezers...
And my heart was quaking. This was such a tiny creature, ugly and fragile. And yet, I cared. I know God cared too. I felt it. I felt His eyes on this tiny living thing.
In the end, our little baby bird was euthanized in a hopefully more humane way than letting it starve, or become riddled with infection, or picked to death by ants.
But I cannot get out of my head how God saw this little baby bird. It didn't escape His attention that this little creature had fallen so so far. God knew what breed it was. And maybe, God gave us this little bird to be with it in it's final moments. To save it from further suffering... and Maybe God granted us a little glimpse of His concern for all His creation...
To understand, in this small little way, what it means to be seen by the God who sees.
Tuesday, June 02, 2015
I’ve been walking in the mornings lately. Trying to take in the scent of frangipani and falling mangoes, the beauty of a mountain covered in green and sunshine. Trying to sort out 2.5 years of wrestling with Thailand… wrestling with an ever present sense of guilt and shame.
Thailand, like many countries in this region, is a land of vast juxtapositions. It is known for lavish beauty, gold, silk, smiles… but also desperate poverty, sexual depravity, and human injustice. And for a person who so desperately wants to be Jesus, the weight of human need is crushing. Families can easily be seen lodging in shacks, and children with very little but rags to wear. There are stories of familial desperation so intense the only solution seems to be to sell your children to ready buyers.
Where does a person start? Is it my job to bring them all bags of rice? Or give them all clothing? Subsidize their lives?
With much of the year reaching temperatures of 40C (100+ F) we use our air conditioner at night, regularly. And nightly, there is a sting in my heart knowing that many people, including people I’ve come to love, are sleeping without air conditioning… or not sleeping, because it’s just too stinking hot. As I buy meat to feed my family with, I twinge with guilt knowing that many people can’t afford this simple luxury.
I have felt shame in all I have, and my inability to “fix” it all. I’ve felt ashamed of all the many priviledges I’ve had in my life… and it is frequently overwhelming…
So, on my walk a few days ago, I was listening to music and one phrase came through “Are you He? Did you die on the tree?” Silly rhymes. Massive meaning.
I am not He. I did not die on the tree. I am only one small part of “He”.
It is not my job to fix everything, to heal every wound, pay every wage, save every person… but my job IS to see. To lament with my fellow humanity in their hardships. Aching with Jesus, as we see their suffering.
Shame is crushing. Immobile. Seeing only me.
Lament moves. It sees outside itself. It sits with the hurting... aching and praying.
I’m trying to move past my shame. Trying to move forward towards lament, and attempting to understand the peace that passes all understanding.