The bird was not destined for longevity. But it did make it to adulthood, long enough to enjoy many worms and bugs, inhabit the trees of Kennisaw Mountain and fly among them.
I was walking my grandchildren to school this week while visiting them in Georgia. Our route was a sidewalk adjacent to a busy thoroughfare, so our hands were firmly clasped. To our right was a forest of very tall trees. In no more than a brief moment, there was squawking and fluttering of wings, and something swooped down from overhead and fell into the road. It was no more than three feet from the curb, right in front of our faces.
“What’s that?” Emmalin said.
“Oh my, I think it’s a crow,” I said. We stopped, stared at it.
“It’s hurt, Grandma,” Rowan said. It landed with its feet and one wing crumpled underneath. His head was erect and his eyes blinked, probably stunned. It made no attempt to stand up, perhaps it couldn’t. It flapped its other free wing slightly, then stopped. I wondered if it had been injured by another crow, or what. We pitied it, lying there helpless. The children wanted me to help it, but of course that was not an option. We continued on our way.
Rowan looked back at the cars driving by. The third one clipped the bird, and he shouted, “Wow! It’s dead now! That car got it!” Intrigued, he kept watching and announced two more “hits” before I made him turn back around. Fortunately, we were several feet away from the crow while it was being clobbered.
A discussion about death followed. These are the teaching moments of life. Thankfully, there was no crying and fussing, but my daughter told me if it’d been a furry animal, there would have been. I told the children that in all my sixty some years on earth, I’d never witnessed a bird fall to earth right beside me, and then die so fast. That we got to see something quite rare. That this was God’s plan for the crow, today was his time to die. They seemed to accept this but Rowan did ask about whether or not animals would be in heaven, which ones and so forth. He told me animals have no souls.
On my return home, there was another road kill, an adolescent squirrel. Poor thing. First the crow, and minutes later, the squirrel. It seems Kennisaw Reserve is a veritable sanctuary for all kinds of wildlife. Many meet with their death on the local roads nearby. When I see a dead animal, I often think “…not one…[sparrow] falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.” (Matthew 10:29)
An animal’s departure doesn’t hold for them the same kind of suffering as humans, of course. The severance experience for us is far reaching. For those death leaves behind, an ever present and ongoing adjustment is required. Cut off from someone or something, how do we do then live?
Visiting here in the eastern part of the country, I am separated temporarily from my house, routine, computer, and husband. While this is a given, it’s also an illustration. While away, I have no control over whether those I live with will stay in touch with me. When they do, I’m blessed. Conversely, without that, I feel cut off.
But God is my refuge and strength. I can think of Him whenever I want. I can take comfort in the fact He is with me. The feeling of being cut off or separated no longer has a direct pull on me, rather, a slighter one.
A secondary thought is that if I want something so much I become upset over the lack of it, perhaps I want that thing too much. There are exceptions. First, I can never want the Lord too much. Also, if one is grieving the loss of a beloved family member, it takes years for the soul to acclimate.
My daughter has a window ledge solar plastic flower with move-able arms. When overcast, its little leaf arms barely move at all. But when it’s bright and sunny, its arms flit so fast, they make a clacking sound. Remembering that noise, I smile. So cute, so cheerful. I’d like to get me one of those solar flowers
My sunshine is not that phone call I have been languishing to receive, nor the return of a life taken from me. It is not an answer to prayer my heart longs for. My sunshine is the Lord Himself.
He sees me. He sees you. We are ever visible.
He is with us. Let us be of good cheer. What we have or do not have is up to Him. For what He brings, let us praise Him. For what we lack, He fills with Himself. Nothing separates us from God or His love for us.