You’ll never believe what a little bird told me just a few days ago. Have you ever gazed up at a flock of birds sailing across the sky? Or do you listen to their lilting songs letting the music lift your spirit? It’s something I do often especially during this season of Coved-19 lockdown. Observing them blesses me and reminds me of God’s awesome and infinite love for His creation. But lately, I confess, watching their gift of flight has brought out a little covetousness in me. I want to fly away from all the troubles our world is going through—disease, death, riotous anarchy, political strife.
So, naturally, when we discovered a bird’s nest under the eaves of our backyard patio, it caught my interest. After a few weeks the high-pitched tweeting of little baby birds and the sight of their parents swooping in and out of the area, kept my interest going. One of the parents, the male no doubt, had a reddish color on its head and the female was an all brown mixture, like a sparrow would be. A quick Google told me they were house finches.
But my heart took pause one day, when I discovered that all three baby birds had fallen out of the nest and sadly only one had survived the fall. The surviving little chick sat quivering and weak on top of a counter near our kitchen window. Not knowing what to do, I felt helpless, so said a quick prayer for it. As I prayed, a verse in Matthew 10:29 came to me. The scripture talks about the value God places even on a little sparrow and that He knows when “one of them falls to the ground.”
It all happened the same morning as my art class, so I needed to hurry into my studio and get ready for my students. With the Corona Virus restrictions and pre-cautions in place, my usual 6 to 8 students had been pared down to only 3 at a time. And, during all the disappointing cancellations and shutdowns, I was glad to be able to do that much. Continuing the classes seemed to encourage them, especially our breaktimes when I would give an inspirational reading or thought for the day. For many, art class was the highlight of their week and for some, our inspiration time was the only spiritual food they would get.
Pretty ironic, I thought, that I have 3 students to feed just like the mother bird did.
After class was over, I quickly rushed to the backyard to check on the baby chick. The last time I’d checked on the little bird its eyes were shut and head bent down as if it might keel over any moment. Now it was on the ground and I figured it had tipped over and fell off the counter. The parents were still nowhere in sight. So, I called our neighborhood animal whisperer. She was a nice gal, named Senchal, who had a natural way with wild animals and critters of all kinds. She came over immediately.
We were both concerned that the baby wasn’t getting fed frequently enough and we still hadn’t seen any sign of the parents. The wildlife rescue she called advised bringing the bird into their place, but it was a long drive and neither of us wanted to venture it. Besides, we knew the best thing would be for the parents to return and care for it.
“Let’s move a good distance away from the bird so we won’t scare the parents away if they return.” She suggested then added, “and cross our fingers they do.”
I agreed we should move but suggested that prayer would be better than crossing our fingers.
“Yes” she agreed. “You’re right.”
After placing the chick in a shoe box with some soft nesting grasses, we sat under a tree far enough away, yet close enough to see if they came back. Half an hour later, we were seriously considering the drive. By then we knew it had been at least 4 hours since the little chick had eaten and baby birds need to eat frequently— 5 to 6 times a day for newly hatched and 3 to 4 times for older chicks. As we sat under the shady tree worrying for the bird’s survival, I reminded my friend that God’s word says He cares for the sparrow that falls to the ground and that He directed the animals to Noah for the ark.
“So,” I said, “God can direct those parents back. We just need to trust in His love.” Then, I bowed my head to pray out loud this time, and asked God to lead the baby’s parents back to help it.
Miraculously, after about fifteen more minutes, I saw the mother bird fly to a nearby light post. Shortly after, the male parent arrived too. We were thrilled and watched anxiously to see what they would do. Scooting back into the house where we could watch safely from the windows, we were happy to see them fly down next to their baby.
A short while later my friend waived good-bye and asked me to keep her posted on the baby bird. “Keep your fingers crossed.” She said again.
Arresting her departure with a reminder, I asked. “Now, didn’t you learn what really makes a difference?”
“Oh, yeah.” She said. “Prayer!” She smiled and waved good-bye promising to keep in touch too.
Later that day the baby bird had taken flight and left. The next day, while glancing out my kitchen window, I saw the baby bird fly into my yard. His flying skills needed some honing as he darted around erratically, but it was as if he was showing me that he was doing all right. Adding further irony to it all, that next evening I learned about a song that was going to be sung at church that very weekend— “His Eye is on The Sparrow.” As it turned out, the whole message that following Sunday was built around the message of God caring for his creation, including the sparrow, and even more so for us, and therefore we should be comforted during this time of Covid-19 lockdowns and riotous anarchy in the streets, because God cares about us, the dangers we’re in and what we’re feeling.
So, guess you could say a little bird told me that and apparently whispered the same message to our pastor too.
Iris Carignan, 8/5/2020