Tragedies Large and Small
I am so shocked and saddened by the happenings in Japan. Yesterday, as the earth was preparing to heave that long shudder, releasing the waters, an ill wind was blowing in from the south here.
I had to take down my bird feeders, they were blowing sideways in the wind. I moved the food to a more sheltered place, although there was little shelter from a wind coming from such an odd direction.
I went back inside. Just as I closed the door, a tiny junco hit my front window, pushed by a strong gust. He hit it hard.
I ran to the window and watched him from inside for a moment, trying to determine if he was still alive. Maybe his breathing moved his tail, maybe it was the wind. I couldn’t tell which.
I opened the door and crept outside. He sat lopsided, his legs collapsed beneath him, blinking. After a moment I gently scooped him up. We sat down on the chair that leans against the window. I placed him on my lap over the heavy fuzz of my hot pink bathrobe and cradled my hand over his stunned body like a hangar over an airplane, sheltering him from the wind. I could feel the heat radiating off of his body, my hand seemed to reflect it back to him. I hoped.
I worried, “Am I doing more harm than good?” I wondered. Is he frightened beyond measure by my interference and human concern? Am I stressing his heart to the point to where I will kill him with my kindness?
Or does he understand enough to know that I am the pink-robed lady that faithfully places his favorite nut butter treats on the feeders just steps from where we are now. The same kind person that calls “chick-a-dee-dee-dee” in an oh-so-human version of a familiar bird call to announce the arrival the morning meal while he sits eagerly at the close edge of a half-bare rhododendron bush.
We sat together for several minutes. I’m sure it seemed longer than it actually was. Time seemed to have stopped for us.
I worked hard to radiate a sense of calm and love and care, sending waves of loving-kindness, of peace, of prayer. I felt silly and, at the same time, I felt connected to him and to the earth and even to the ill wind that threw him into the path and pane of danger.
Finally, he turned his head to look up at me. He looked and blinked. Then he looked away. I barely breathed.
After a while he looked up again, this time, it seemed, with more energy. I removed my hovering hand. We sat in a companionable silence for several more minutes. I was in no hurry for him to leave my lap, and he was either in no hurry or still in no shape to move.
How fragile life is. One gust of wind, casually thrown into path of a tiny snowbird, can mean the difference between life and death.
A wind — cooling and soothing on a hot summer day — can turn deadly without warning. A wave — gentle and serene, tickling our toes as we stroll through the sand — suddenly becomes a killing force, taking the lives of thousands, destroying everything in its path.
Love given creates. Love taken away destroys. We are all suffering. Some of us suffer in small ways, some in larger ways. Some of us drift back and forth between the two, never feeling the freeing release of ease and contentment.
I cannot do any more for the people in Japan than I could do for the little bird that hit my window and suffered his own small tragedy. I am without the power of kings or presidents. I do not command great armies or hold great amounts of money. I don’t even have skills or strength enough to help them.
But I can sit with them. I can radiate waves of loving-kindness. I can send prayers.
This prayer is from the Daughters of the King, I think it says it all:
For His Sake …
I am but one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
What I can do, I ought to do.
What I ought to do, by the grace of God I will do.
… Lord, what will you have me do?
Thank you, Cathy, for sending me the prayer.