Sipping coffee at the table with my back to the open inside door, I was startled by a sharp THUNK. I jumped up and looked out the screen door. Just as I suspected: a bird had hit the glass and was lying beside the Welcome mat, gasping. Our cat, Angus, was heading up the steps to see about a possible lunch. I shooed him away. He knows the rules here. No Birds!
The bird, an eastern kingbird, was all askew and definitely stunned; it fluttered a bit when I stepped outside. I grabbed a few tissues from the house for padding and gently cupped it in my hands. It offered no resistance as I carried it to the flower bed and tucked it in the shelter of a shrub.
Much against his will, Angus was forced to come inside.
The kingbird lie there gasping, head on the ground, tail straight up, feathers ruffled, for about fifteen minutes. When I checked again it had pulled itself together into a sitting position. Half an hour later it was gone. Since there were no other cats about, and no tell-tale feathers, I’m sure it flew away.
I thought of a childhood song: “God sees the little sparrow fall; it meets his tender view. If God so loves the little things, I know he loves me too.”
This was no tiny sparrow, no warbler or wren with a beautiful song. The kingbird, a.k.a. “Tyrannus tyrannus” is a bigger bird. An acrobat when catching his meals in flight. Lordly, top-of-the-tree type. One guide calls them pugnacious. The ones in our yard live peaceably enough; I’ve never seen them bother smaller birds. But kingbirds are famous for their aggressive attacks on hawks, crows and other predators – even humans – that invade their territory.
To me its reputation didn’t matter. Here was a bird – and I like birds. I was able to help it, so I did.
Helpless little birds, gentle doves; it’s not hard to take pity on them. What about the tyrants of this world, the bullies, the belligerent, the viciously defensive? But God – so the Bible says – loves all people. No matter what our issues, He’s ready to help where He can. When we don’t thrash around and fight him off.
We can’t always see hope for change, but God knows how a lion can make 180-degree turn and become a lamb, gentle and merciful. History is full of nasty types who turned around when they met God. I think of Saul, who became the apostle Paul.
“And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord…” Acts 9:1 But Jesus met Saul on the road to Damascus and Saul did a major turn-around. He became Paul – meaning “Little” – the one who later wrote, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10