A Bird’s Eye View of Life
Mom got up early on Sunday morning and got the kids ready for church. Dad sat in the living room reading his newspaper and looking out at the freshly fallen snow. They’d had this conversation many times before and although nothing had ever changed by saying it, she found herself saying more from habit than from expectation, “Why don’t you come with us this week?”
He didn’t look up from his paper. “You know why,” he said out loud and then in his own mind finished the answer with, ”A truly great God wouldn’t care about puny humans anyway.” The man continued to replay the argument in his mind: “If God is so perfect and great, why would he care about helping us? If God is so powerful, why would he make his son become a human? Why would he stoop so low to help us . . . if God really is so great.”
With the family gone the house fell silent except for the reassuring sound of the logs crackling in the fireplace. From the other end of the house came a strange thump. He put down his paper and walked down the hall to investigate.
A group of birds sat huddled outside the window. In confusion they had flown into the window and now sat huddled in fear in the snow, disoriented and unsure about what to do next.
Our man felt sorry for the birds and thought to himself, “These birds could go out in my barn and be warm there until the weather clears.”
So he went out and opened the barn doors wide. He waited for the birds to move into the shelter but in response they sat where they were and kept watching him.
“I know, I’ll shoo them over to the barn door so they get the idea,” he thought. The cold wind whipped at his clothes and the soft snow found its way into his shoes as he moved to get behind the birds. To his annoyance he realized that the more he tried to herd the birds towards the barn the more they scattered. When he backed off they went right back to their spot in the snow.
He tried another bright scheme to get the birds to sensibly accept his offer of shelter and help. He went into his house and came back out with a loaf of bread. Birds like bread and so he felt confident that this scheme would work as he made a trail of breadcrumbs all the way to the barn door. The birds responded by huddling closer together with their feathers fluffed out, ignoring the gift of life he was offering them.
Stumped and fresh out of ideas, our man stood looking at the birds while he wondered just what it would take to get them to take his offer of safety.
He thought to himself, “If only I could become a bird and lead them to safety, then they wouldn’t have to die.” And then he finally understood.
(adapted from a story by Louis Cassell in the Bostonia Breeze.)