“Struck down, but not destroyed.”
-St. Paul the Apostle
One morning, I was sitting in my bedroom, doing my morning devotional while sipping from my favorite mug filled with warm green tea when I heard a loud thud on the side of the house. I got up to investigate. I pulled back the blinds on the patio window so I could look outside. Initially I did not see anything when I looked through the window. I then angled my head down and there I saw it. On the brick covered ground right outside my window was a little auburn bird. It lay there lifeless, on its back with its breast face up. Its breast was a beautiful cream color with green hues. Its neck appeared to be broken and one of its wings appeared dislocated.
“Girls! Girls!“ I called out summoning my daughters to come to my room. They filed in one by one, answering, “Yes, Mommy“ and looking at me expectantly. “Look at this,“ I said to them pointing down at the bird. “I think the bird didn’t see the glass of the window and tried to fly straight through it. It’s so sad. It killed itself.“
I then sat back down and went back to my devotional and green tea.
One by one, my daughters drifted away from the bird and went back to their morning chores and the business of preparing to go to school. All except one. My third daughter stayed with the bird and after a few minutes, she said, “Mommy, the bird's leg is moving.” I responded, “That’s probably just the nerves displaying residual involuntary movement. That bird is dead.“ “No, Mommy! His leg is really moving. I think he’s alive,“ she insisted. She called out for one of her sisters who joined her and said, “Mommy, now his neck is moving. I think he’s alive.“
“That bird is not alive,” I responded. “Go finish your breakfast and get ready to go to school.”
After I finished my devotional and took my shower, I came back out to my bedroom and saw that the girls were watching the bird again. “Mommy,” my second daughter said, “the bird is sitting up now. His leg is injured though. And his wing. I don’t think he will be able to fly or walk. A cat might get him. Can we go help the bird? Maybe he needs a splint for his leg.”
“No,“ I said. “A bird that can’t walk or fly is not long for this world. We will let it be.”
About 20 minutes later, as we were preparing to leave the house, one of my daughters ran up to me and said, “Mommy, Mommy! The bird is gone. He flew away.“
“Wow,” I said. “I was wrong. The bird made a comeback.”
Sometimes situations and circumstances may appear to us hopeless when they are not. This is because our ability to perceive things is restricted by our life‘s circumstances and limited by our particular lens. My belief that the bird was dead was influenced by my experience with impending death of loved ones in the past. My experience with grief taught me that in the long run, it was better to accept the difficult reality of imminent death as soon as possible. I had learned that it would help to process what was occurring, and ultimately, help me to move on. It was also a mechanism that served to protect my emotions. Having hope that things would improve or turn around could be scary and also came with vulnerability. I felt as though I was protecting my children by encouraging them to do the same in this situation.
However, my children weren’t jaded in the way I was. They believed in their hearts that the bird was not dead. They hoped against hope that the bird would make it, and ultimately, the bird was revived.
They were right. I was wrong.
There are indeed times where acceptance of the harsh realities of life is appropriate. However, keeping oneself grounded in the reality of what has transpired before us should not come at the expense of faith and hope.
I encourage all of us to allow ourselves to hope. No matter how bleak circumstances look and how hopeless things may seem, allow yourself to believe that things will turn around. Give yourself permission to have faith. We’ve all had circumstances and situations where we’ve been down and others might have counted us out, but we weren’t out. Let’s all be like the little bird. Scourged, but not broken. Afflicted, but not dead. Persecuted, but not abandoned. Struck down, but not destroyed. We are made to be resilient.
Get ready for your comeback.