Dead or alive?
A little sparrow sat perfectly still on the deck of my patio. I tip-toed toward the bird. She made no attempt to fly away. I knelt down beside the poor creature and studied her delicate features and beautiful colors. Shades of grey and white crisscrossed the little bird’s body, forming patterns that could mesmerize an artist. A splatter of yellow on its belly added to its beauty.
I can’t leave her here, out in the open.
The sparrow shivered when I touched her, and opened her eyes slightly. I examined her thoroughly like an animal detective. No signs of injury.
I scooped the bird into my hands gently and took her inside the kitchen. On the counter I found an empty carton of granola bars. I ripped off the top and lined the carton with a kitchen towel. Perfect! I placed the bird in the makeshift nest. She was safe here, both from the wintery cold and my ever-hungry dog.
I grabbed my laptop and searched the Internet for advice to deal with abandoned or injured birds. One wise birder suggested that birds sometimes went into a temporary state of shock when they flew into a glass window. With time, he said, they recover from the accident and fly away.
Maybe the pretty bird flew into the French windows of my living room. Could she have been so scared that every muscle in her body froze?
I could relate to her.
We had recently moved from Los Angeles to San Jose. I missed the beach-y vibe of my former town which had been home for over six years. I had friends who had become family. My Bible study mates became community. I was settled and rooted.
When we moved, the rug was pulled out from under me. The change overwhelmed me. The unfamiliarity disoriented me. Paralyzed by loneliness, I did the bare minimum to get through the day. Daily chores became drudgery. No activity seemed enjoyable. Like the sparrow, I was incapacitated, stunned by the enormity of change that shook my world.
Until God intervened.
He did not leave me on my own to weather the elements …
“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry.” (Psalm 34:15 NIV)
God sent His people, strangers to me but friends with Him, to pick me up and provide shelter while I regained my perspective and renewed my faith. Old friends called and prayed with me, pointing me to God’s goodness. A parent from my son’s school befriended me and showed me around San Francisco. Within two months of moving, we found a church that felt like home the minute we walked in the sanctuary. We were invited to a Bible study by a family we met at church.
On my own, I was weak. But God provided community to pull me up and push me forward.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up …” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV)
They reminded me that I could trust God even more in the midst of unknown surroundings and an uncertain future.
And before I knew it, I began to fly again.
Back in the kitchen, after 10 minutes or so, the sparrow fluttered its wings. With eyes opened wide, it searched for a way out. I opened the door to my patio and watched in amazement as the bird soared into the sky with new-found vigor and vision.
Copyright © 2020 Mabel Ninan, used with permission.