As I watch the little plastic coffin get buried with dirt, I have to wonder why I was chosen to experience this burial ritual of a bird I had only known for four days.
Most know me as a nature-girl, but by no means am I an actual true-blue knowledgeable naturalist. I had even discouraged my daughter from bringing home this injured baby blue jay, thinking it was going to be difficult to keep it alive and hard to watch it die, and worse – to see her upset over it.
Funny thing is, I am the sappy one here, my heart broken up as I am burying my new failure. That’s how this made me feel – a FAILURE at everything lately!
And now this little baby suffered from my messy life. And it is a mess. I feel guilty as heck.
…If only I did this…….if only we had called SPCA and found out earlier…….why didn’t I think of that?……
These questions plagued me all night after the little creature took his last breath on my lap as I finger-massaged his little head and wings late into the night.
The biggest question that I still ask days later is WHY? And WHY NOW, as I am already going through personal hell? I still have no job after 3 years, no medical benefits, my meds and vitamins are running low, bills are piling up, rent goes unpaid, my daughter is leaving for college soon, and exactly the same time as we bury this pet my boyfriend is on his way to a month of training half way across the country. And I had put aside my pity-party to try with my daughter for four days to keep this sick bird alive, but to have him taken from me, too.
What is the lesson here that God wants me to understand?
It took me a few days to get it. I feel like this bird, getting catapulted out of a comfortable position at work like he did his nest; landing on rocks as he did on hard concrete side walk (where my daughter found him); I’m injured inside, heartbroken, and in the business world I feel left for dead as he probably felt being thrown away like a useless pest. But the difference is we found him and took care of him, and he died anyway.
But I am still alive, and okay for the most part.
The reason finally dawns on me as I gaze across the yard at his make-shift grave, missing the chirping and his curious gazes at me. The Lord did come get me and took me in. He wasn’t the one who pushed me out either – that was the cruel, cold corporate world. Jesus kept me alive, and here I am. I’m not hungry, homeless or forsaken like this bird had been for a few scary hours or minutes after his crash landing.
If I didn’t have Jesus in my life already when my 3 year forced furlough happened, and through a whole lot of ups and downs during that period, I’d be dead from depression, a rotting gall bladder, kidney stones, a possible crash in an old truck breaking down, and maybe starving and homeless. All of these problems – and more – were covered miraculously by something much bigger and stronger than me.
It may be through other people He keeps helping me through all this but they are His willing vessels and I am grateful. I still wonder every day WHY DON’T I HAVE A JOB YET? Especially when God knows I am not content with making welfare a vocation, and I apply endlessly to jobs – to no avail.
Though it wasn’t hard to do, and because the bird grew on me quickly from the moment we brought him home with that hungry, opened-wide little beak, God gave us this creature to comfort as best we could. He died but with a name, Alex; he had love, as I held him often and took him with me in a car ride to my mother’s house to meet his ‘Grandmom’, and we kept an eye on him through the nights; he had provisions of food, water, warmth and comfort on soft old towels. I got the most attached to him, and held him close, praying, gently petting, and saying his name as his breathing slowly stopped.
I place a few shells on his grave, something I always found special and unique to cover up the ground over ‘someone’ equally precious to me. Alex’s existence, however short, wasn’t so much about him as it is about teaching me a valuable lesson: that though I’m broken as he had been, so much more does God care for me and He is STILL right here.
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6:26)
Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear you not therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31)