The timing was not good; I was in a hurry, because after I changed my clothing, I was going to meet a friend for coffee. But the bird needed to get out before Cathy came home from work. I suppose that I could’ve just left a note for her to remove the bird, but figured that it would be best for me to take care of it myself.
I thought that removing the bird would be pretty simple; I had chased birds out of areas where they weren’t supposed to be before. However, the more I tried to quicken the process, the more the bird flew from room to room in the basement, crashing into the windows. I slowed down, gently speaking to the bird, hoping that somewhere along the way it had picked up some English so that it would understand what I was saying.
I decided to chase the bird to the stairway leading to the main floor of the house; which I was able to do in time (five minutes or so). I was also hoping that the bird knew enough to stop on the main floor instead of flying to the second or third floors of our house.
When I followed the bird to the main floor, I noticed that it was once again continuing its process of flying frantically into the windows, looking for a way of escape; stopping only occasionally to rest on the lentil of a door or window. Added to this wonderful excitement was the trail of items knocked off shelves and leaves knocked off of the houseplants.
Once again, I spoke to the bird hoping that somewhere along the way it had picked up some English so that it would understand what I was saying, so that I could get the bird outside and then I could meet my friend for coffee. And the more I tried to quicken the process, the more the bird flew from room to room, crashing into the windows; stopping only to catch its breath and shake the cobwebs from its head caused from crashing into the windows. (Picture the squirrel running around the Griswold family's house in the movie; “Christmas Vacation”).
After five minutes of chasing the bird from room to room around the main floor of our house, I decided to chase the bird to the enclosed front porch (opening the doors that lead outside) that was next to the stairway leading to the second floor; which I was able to do in time, hoping (once again) that the bird knew enough to stop on the main floor instead of flying to the second or third floors of our house. Did you get all that?
I spent the next five minutes or so chasing the bird around the enclosed porch, hoping that it would stop running itself into the porch windows. I had assumed at this point that the bird didn’t understand English, so I started whistling in an effort to communicate my desire to help the bird and to calm it down. It hadn’t occurred to me that perhaps my whistling was in fact communicating a challenge to the bird to fight with me.
Eventually, I thought of placing a small basket in a corner and sure enough, the bird flew into the basket and I was able to capture it by throwing a towel over the top. I picked up the basket, took it outside, and watched the bird fly away to the nearest tree. The mission was finally successful. Estimated time to get the bird freed from the basement to the outside was approximately 15 minutes.
I spent the next few minutes going room by room through the basement, main floor, and the front porch; closing doors and cleaning up the trail of debris left by the bird in its effort to escape. I was now running twenty minutes late in my attempt to leave our house to meet my friend for coffee.
I never wanted to hurt the bird in any way, only to help it escape from where it really didn’t want to be. I had tried desperately to communicate my concern and love for this bird, but to no avail. Twice, after the bird crashed into windows and walls, I was able to pick it up in a towel for a short bit until it escaped. It was only when the bird had exhausted itself in its attempt to escape that it was calm enough for me to offer assistance.
I wonder how much we are like that bird, trying on our own successfully to escape our entrapments; not able to hear and understand God’s voice; especially His love for us. I wonder how many times do we need to bang our heads into what we think is the way out, until we sit, calm, confused, and finally able to be approached in an effort to help us get free.
Perhaps it is times like these when we need to simply stop, and cry out for help from the only One who can really help us get free; instead of trying on our own.
Isaiah 41: 10 “Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” from The Message Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
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