Lord, show me your way; lead me on a level path because of my enemies. Do not abandon me to the will of my foes; malicious and lying witnesses have risen against me. But I believe I shall enjoy the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the Lord! — Psalms 27:11-14
My daughter and I were out back today and she found a little worm. Naturally, she wanted to put it in a cup with some dirt and hold on to little “wormy” as a pet.
I let her look at it for a while and tried to explain to her that wormy would be much happier back in the the dirt. About the same time, I noticed that my dog, Lily, was hopping around in my peripheral vision.
At first I thought she had found a lizard to play with, but after hearing a “cheep”, I jumped out my chair and discovered that it was a baby bird, probably just out of the nest.
I’ve had dogs over the years that wouldn’t have hesitated to make a meal out of that bird. Lily is different though, probably the most friendly and obedient dog I’ve ever had, so the little bird was more of a curiosity than anything else.
I gently scooped up the bird nonetheless, and carefully moved out of harm’s way to give my daughter a chance to look at it.
Butterscotch. That was the name she gave it. Butterscotch was scared stiff from meeting my dog as you can probably imagine. It was cheeping up a storm at first and I could feel its tiny heart racing against the palm of my hand. I just stood there calmly and motionless, breathing easy and giving a little whistle occasionally.
It didn’t take long for Butterscotch to close its eyes and start to relax. I could also feel my own pulse beating much slower in my hands, and I think the bird could feel it as well because its heartbeat slowed down a bit and the bird closed its eyes to rest.
A few minutes later, the parents perched close by on a low branch, so I set little Butterscotch on a bush nearby. The little wings started flapping and with a great degree of effort, Butterscotch was off.
Later tonight, my daughter and I found the bird back in the yard by itself. This time I picked it up and put it in the birdhouse my daughter had just made, which was perched in a pine tree. My daughter was delighted. We even fed it a couple of little worms. Maybe it started to feel some strength from the meal, because it eventually flew out of the birdhouse across the yard and behind some bushes where it started to cheep again.
The mother immediately heard the call, because she flew out of nowhere to perch above the wall, just above Butterscotch. She started making little chirps of her own and she alternated this with lifting her wings. I think she was actually telling her little bird to fly.
I don’t know why I’m always having these critter episodes, but Glory to God! That was a good moment today, but trust me when I say that there were definitely some other times today where I was feeling helpless as well… just about every time I look at the news.
What to do? Well, you can’t beat prayer and Holy Scripture as a good default position. I’ve been spending time with the Gospel, particularly everything following the Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem (because it seems as if we passed through the false Hosanna of our day into the Passion).
The fact is, we’re given everything we need to know in sacred Scripture –– for these times and all times. All we have to do is read the Word with an upright spirit to get beyond any human shortsightedness.
It may seem like moving forward is going to take some heroics, and I don’t disagree, but I think we also need to overcome our human thinking on that front as well. What are we doing? Fighting for a worldly kingdom, or the Kingdom of Heaven?
After all, it’s not likely that any of us are are in a position to confront the Capitol or other wayward institutions to set things right. No, the tasks we’ve been given are usually right in front of us and so many in the seemingly smallest of things.
What to do? Pray. Love. Be charitable in all things. Living a holy life doesn’t have to translate into grandiose or complicated things. Usually it’s just about doing the small stuff while we wait patiently for the Lord.