Saturday, May 17, 2008

Fallen Birds

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered." Matthew 10:29

Last night was one of those defining parental moments for me. A bird fell from the nest still inside its egg and began to hatch. There were thirteen children standing over it in amazement and asking with eyes wide open, "What do we do now?"

Some began digging for worms. Some came up with boxes lined with blankets. Some brought out a desk lamp hoping to provide warmth. One even found an abandoned nest. The little robin was hatched into this world looking naked and helpless. It began to open its mouth for food.

My neighbor, Sandy, called a Wildlife rescue number to get some instructions about what to do. The policy is not to give instructions regarding protected animals, but to provide a certified rescuer to house and raise the bird for release instead.

At this point, Sandy and I exchanged glances as the children looked on. We were at a parental crossroads here. We both know that birds fall from trees everyday and do not survive. This is the way of life and there was a lesson to be learned here. We also knew that this was an opportunity to step up and take responsibility for a need. The baby bird could do nothing to help itself, but there was something that we could do.

It was late. The kids were dirty. Both of our husbands were gone. Normal bedtime was past. And the eyes were still on us. But which was the more important lesson to be learned on this night?

Sandy carefully warmed and packaged the bird for travel and provided the directions. I drove with children to the animal rescue house. The kids were completely silent in the car not wanting the small creature to be frightened. My aspiring vet, Lydia, was in front seat holding the container mouthing the words, "I love you, Mommy. Thank you SO MUCH."

On the way home we had more of a chance to talk. We do not have pets in our home so we don't really discuss animals often. What do I want my children to understand about this night? This is what we discussed:

1) God provides us opportunities to serve others in need. God knew that the egg would fall and He knew that we would find it. He provides us opportunities to help and when we can, we should.

2) Animals die everyday. Birds fall from trees, dogs get hit by cars, cats get leukemia and they all die. That is sad, but it is to expected.

3) Animals do not have souls. God made them wonderfully, but they do not go to heaven. They are temporal, made for this world. God has given us dominion over them and a responsibility to care for them. People are made in God's image and always more important than animals.

4) No life, no matter how small, is insignificant.

5) What if there was no way for us to help the bird? What then? It would be kind and right to let the bird die with respect.

I'm realizing that my children will not likely grow up in a society that protects or values the cause of the helpless and dying. It may be that this is not just an underlying mentality, but actually legislated in the near future. I pray that is not so. There are not many leaders or role models who step up and go the extra mile for the cause of the oppressed. When I heard of this, I was shocked and sickened.

We are raising future leaders and we must be their role models. So while they are watching with wide open eyes and asking, "What do we do now?" we must respond.

Will the baby robin survive? God only knows. Hopefully we will return to the house and see it released in six weeks or so. Regardless, I pray that this lesson survives in the hearts and minds of our children.


Rachel said...

What a beautiful picture for your kids to witness. Kindnes toward a helpless creature with no thought of personal reward.

One thought for you to ponder...I've often wondered. I'm not so sure that animals won't be in heaven. They cannot accept Christ, but they also cannot deny him. They do have personalities and feelings. (Unlike most of the rest of creation.) We can develop relationships with animals in a way that is very similar to other people. My 2 dogs have made me question my own beliefs about whether or not some animals may be eternal creatures. Just some thoughts...

Have a great weekend!

Tisha said...

I read the article about Obama. I knew the information, but not all the details. Thanks for sharing that and I have already forwarded it to most of my family who thinks there is nothing wrong with that man...ugh! Those poor innocent lives.

I could get on my soap box all day about that, but I will not!

Have a great weekend. :)

mom24 said...

I love that the Lord provides us with these life lessons. It is always so much better than learning such things from a book. He is good to give us opportunity to teach our children about Him, His creation, and how we fit into it.
It is indeed very, very sad that many consider life to be so valueless that they snuff it out in it's most innocent and weak state. I can't even bear to think about it sometimes. But then I remember that there are people out there that know God and raise children to love Him!

shay said...

What an amazing life lesson. God provides these moments for us all. You taught me some thing today as well!
Oh and what a wonderful list for your kids.
I'm shocked by the Obama link! Well maybe not, he does seem very smooth. I'm glad to be a Canadian and not have to make this hard decision. Bless you guys as you pick your next leader!

Leanne said...

I was deeply touched by the Scripture you opened your post with....and also when you said that no life, no matter how small is insignificant.

Thank you for echoing my heart.

Thank you for visiting me. I love new friends! I hope you'll be a frequent visitor and leave me lots of comments!

Thanks again for a post I really needed to read!


Mary@notbefore7 said...

What a beautiful moment you captured and the lessons you typed out were so right on. That night will forever be etched on the hearts of your children.

Thank you for sharing this. I feel like this is one of the posts I learned so much from reading it. You are such a good example of a mom striving to follow God while raising her kids. I so appreciate posts like this because they teach me so much (as a mom earlier on in this journey of motherhood...still preschoolers round here).

Thanks MOnica.
(going to follow the link next)

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

You are brilliant. And wise. And wonderful. :) Love you.

mindi said...

Oh my - you did the right thing!! I'm glad you got to go through this with your children - I had a post similar last week about the sparrows. God does indeed love the animals he places in our care.
I'm with Rachel on this one, though, my dogs have personalities, and so much love, I hope that one day I can see them in heaven with me. Maybe it's not the case, but I can hope.

Kathy in WA said...

What a beautiful post! Great life lesson for the children.

Sorry we couldn't send some tomato plants your way. :) The boys would have loved to share with some bloggy friends. Ha!