Defenseless?

Image titled I want my mommy by anyjazz65

Image titled “I want my mommy” by anyjazz65

My wife Carol has an amazing affinity for animals of all kinds.  Our house is a virtual Noah’s ark of pets, including dogs, cats, birds, fish, and other assorted, furry varmints.  Each pet enjoys Carol’s special blend of care and attention.  She has a natural ability to communicate with animals in a way that leaves me awestruck.

For example, earlier this week, my son Derek and I were in the basement with the windows open when we heard a commotion in the backyard.

“What’s that noise?” Derek asked me.

“I don’t know.  It sounds like a bird fight,” I replied, vaguely aware of Carol rushing out the back screen door as I spoke.

Five minutes later, Carol called to us, “Don’t let any of the cats out.  I just caught Choco about to attack a baby bird that fell out of its nest!”

Sure enough, when I went out back, there was a baby robin clutching a branch in our little Japanese maple tree.  The loud noises earlier had been the baby’s frantic mother calling for help, and Carol had answered.  Over the course of that evening, we watched her cautiously feed her baby, and tracked his progress out of the tree and onto the top of our privacy fence.

“He’ll be fine as long as the cats and dogs don’t get him,” Carol advised me.  “Be careful when you let the dogs out in the morning.”

The next morning, I followed her instructions to the letter, and even searched our yard for our little visitor, finding no sign of him.  Carol had errands to run in town, and I headed for the computer.  But within half an hour, I heard those same, frantic bird calls from the previous day in the backyard.  Vowing not to make the same mistake twice, I hurried out into the backyard.

I circled our fence twice, finding nothing.  I was just about to give up the search when I discovered our cat with the baby robin on our back deck.  He had dragged the baby to our back door and was preparing for the kill.  The baby looked up at me and opened its beak in a silent call for help.  Tiny clumps of feathers scattered about him on the floor boards testified to the terror he had suffered in the past five minutes.

I quickly tossed the cat in the house, then turned back to tend to the wounded bird.  My first thought was to move him back to the relative safety of the fence again, but as I started to reach down to pick him up, a quieter voice that sounded a lot like Carol’s spoke in my mind: If you touch him, his mother will stop taking care of him.

I knew that voice was right.  So, reluctantly, I went back in the house.

He looked so defenseless sitting there by himself, but each time we went out to check on him, we would find his mother hard at work bringing him food to eat.  It wasn’t long before he was moving around the deck thanks to her efforts.  We helped her by letting our dogs out the basement door and blocking the stairs to the deck to protect the baby.

Slowly it dawned on me that baby robin wasn’t defenseless at all.  His Defender had a plan for him all along, and we were all playing our parts in it.

Late that afternoon, Carol called to me, “I haven’t seen the momma bird lately.  Do you see the baby anywhere?”  A thorough search of the back yard confirmed he had gained enough strength to leave.

Good luck to you, little guy.  May all the others you encounter along your path heed the Voice that brings healing and peace to this world.

Advertisements

An Open Letter To My Wife Carol

Picture by KM Cheng, Hong Kong
Picture by KM Cheng, Hong Kong

Dear Carol,

I’ve missed you while you’ve been away visiting your twin sister this past week.  I’m glad that you’re having a good time and getting a break from the usual routines around the house.  You deserve it.
 
I’m writing to tell you how much I appreciate all that you do.  You’re right, maintaining our house is a full-time job.  And it’s a thankless job, too.  I’m sorry that I’ve been so thoughtless and ungrateful.  It’s nice to come home to a clean, organized, orderly home.  I’ve really missed that these past several days.
 
I’ve done my best to care for the pets, the house, and the yard like you do, but I have to admit that it has been a struggle for me.  While I enjoy our house and our pets, I take no great pleasure in completing all the daily, weekly, and monthly chores necessary to keep and maintain them.  Several times over the past week I’ve been overwhelmed at the thought of all the tasks left to be done.  I’ve been angry and irritable, flying off the handle at the slightest set back.  More than once, I’ve lost heart and given up, pushing off the workload to the next day.  Of course, that means even more work to do when that next day arrives.
 
I don’t understand how you can do this work each day, much less want to do it.  Housework to me has always been a necessary evil; something that you do quickly so that you can get to the “more important” activities in your life.  But as I’ve stumbled through this past week, I’ve gained a new appreciation for you and all that you do for our family.  It takes a special kind of heart to want to do the work that you do, a mother’s heart.  To willingly want to serve your family by doing all those thankless tasks necessary to maintain our home each and every day, that’s love. 
 
You give our family comfort and care.  You give me structure and stability.  I can rely on you in so many ways.  Your support at home strengthens me, encourages me, and frees me to do all that I do in this world.  Without you here, I’ve been like a ship without a rudder, tossed about in the storms of life.  I can’t claim to be a great man, but I do know that I’m nothing without you behind me.
 
I feel that I’m seeing you with new eyes.  You are a marvelous woman, special beyond my ability to describe, and I love you.  I’m anxious for your return.  When you do come home, I ask you to hold me accountable: each and every day, I need to thank you for all that you do for me and our family.  It’s because of you that this house is a home.
 
Love,
Dug