A few days ago, I came home to the news that a bird had flown into our window. It came with a loud thump, the kids told me, and everyone had gone running to see what it was.
The tiny bird was only a baby, and it was lying on the ground. Clearly, it had been winded. “It was a little bit twitchy, too,” my husband said. “It didn’t look good.” The boys just shrugged as if to say, What can you do? But my daughter E. was very sad. Poor little bird.
I have seen it happen before. I was working at the dining room table once when a robin–almost full grown–came barrelling into the window with a loud crash. I went out to investigate and found him, dazed and confused and lying on the ground. His chest was heaving up and down and he had a wild look in his eyes. I hope he lives, I thought to myself.
The truth is, that doesn’t just happen to birds. Sometimes we are flying along, preoccupied with work and family and what to have for supper when all of a sudden–wham! We hit a brick wall. It could be our bodies that insist on a sudden stop and we end up on a hospital bed waiting for doctors to tell us what in the world is wrong. It might be the end of a job that leaves us at home wondering what just happened. That brick wall can be a million different things: exhaustion, grief, accident, breakup. And we lay there like those birds on the ground, winded and confused.
E. was very worried about that little bird, but she needn’t have been. As it turned out, it was a wise bird, despite its youth. It simply lay quietly and let the minutes tick by, one after another. The minutes turned to hours, and still it lay still. Even with E. peeking down at it now and again, it didn’t struggle or try to get up. It simply rested.
At last, E. came back into the house. “He’s finally gone away!” she said. “He must have been alright!”
Yes, I thought to myself, he’s alright. He may have hit a brick wall, but he also knew to stop for a few moments and rest. When he was well enough, when he had gathered sufficient energy, when he had his bearings again, he was able to carry on.
That is a good lesson to learn.