Friday, September 19, 2008

Carrie

“Mimi! Come quick! There’s a baby bird on the ground, and it needs our help!” Charis called out as she ran into her grandparents’ house.

“What? Well, don’t touch it. Let’s look and see if we can find its nest,” my mom told her. But alas, the bird was in the middle of a field, with only one small tree. Charis looked for a nest, even climbed the tree. There were no birds or nests in sight.

Finally, as gently as possible, Charis used a stick to scoop the tiny, helpless creature into a Dixie cup, and brought it to the house. And that, my friends, is how Carrie came into our lives.

It was more than two years ago. Mark and I were on an overnight trip, and the kids were staying with my parents. Charis was playing in the forty-acre yard, singing and skipping and chasing butterflies in the way that only a nine-year-old girl can do, when she spotted movement out of the corner of her eye. She took a closer look, and found the baby hummingbird, far from its nest. Barely alive.

Ever-so-tenderly, Charis and Mimi made a nest for the little bird, inside that cup. Holding her finger over the end of a straw, Mimi showed Charis how to feed it. Orange Fanta. The drink of champions.

Mark and I were greeted with this scene, when we arrived to pick up our children. “Meet Carrie,” Charis told us, and we watched with fascination as the tiny bit of fuzz gulped down the orange drink as if it were manna from heaven.

“Why did you name her ‘Carrie’?” I asked.

“Because I just studied about the carrier pigeons,” Charis said.

“You mean the passenger pigeons?” I clarified.

“Oh . . . yeah. I guess I should call her Passi. But that’s not nearly as nice a name as Carrie.”

So, Carrie officially became a part of our family that day. She made her home on Mimi and Poppy’s porch – first in that Dixie cup, and later in a cardboard box. We made sure she was free to leave anytime she wanted. But she never did.

She never even flew, except for a few feet at a time, and only once or twice.

We did our homework, and learned that hummingbirds need the protein that comes from eating small bugs. We couldn’t get her to eat bugs. So we mixed a bit of dog food in with her orange soda.

Hey, you make do.

Then, Poppy did some research, and found some special, protein-infused hummingbird food. Fifty-something dollars a box!

Yep. He ordered the food. My dad may seem like a tough guy, but he’s really an old softie.

For the next several weeks, Carrie was treated like royalty. Her meals were prepared for her. She was hand-fed. Foster and Charis decorated the inside of her box with pictures of trees, and placed leaves and branches there, so she’d feel at home. They entertained her with puppet shows, which she watched without blinking. Charis even jumped up and down, in an attempt to teach her to fly.

Believe it or not, the bird jumped when Charis did!

Once, two other hummingbirds came and perched on the side of her box. If we had known she was planning to host a party, we would have prepared the orange dog food.

The lifespan of a hummingbird is believed to be around three years. But Carrie only lived for a few weeks. It was a sad day for our family, the day our Carrie died.

Charis took it the hardest. “It’s not fair. Why did she have to die? She never even got to fly.”

I didn’t have an answer for her. Why do things like that happen to anybody? She was right. It wasn’t fair.

But then, I thought about that tiny little bird, abandoned, alone in a field. She was doomed for starvation, or perhaps destined to be the dinner of some predator. Either of those would have been a horrible way to die.

Instead, Carrie was rescued. She was fed. She was loved. She got to experience what few birds do – a puppet show put on for her enjoyment. All things considered, I’d say she had a pretty good life.

It makes me wonder about my own life. Sometimes, things aren’t fair. Sometimes, it seems like things should be better. But perhaps I need to take a closer look at all the blessings God sends my way. Only God knows what my life might have been like, without His intervention.

He has fed me, and given me a place to live. He has sent me people to love, and to laugh with, people with whom I can celebrate life. He has loved me.

All things considered, I’d say I’ve had it pretty good.

Luke 12:6 – 7 “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

8 comments:

Cheryl Barker said...

"Only God knows what my life might have been like, without His intervention." You're right, Renae -- we have so much to be thankful for!

Cheryl Barker said...

p.s. I like your new look to the blog, Renae!

Aleta said...

This was a touching post. I'm glad that the little hummingbird knew the love of your family. And I'm glad that Charis has kindness in her spirit to want to nurse the bird and put on a puppetshow (how adorable).

Beautiful message as well, that God has given blessings, even when things look gloomy. That's actually one of the reasons why I titled one of my posts, "Counting Blessings" and it was about Greg's car accident. Counting blessings, because things could have been much worse.

God bless!

spaghettipie said...

Renae, what a beautiful pictures. We have been given so much, haven't we? Praying for you through this tough time. Love ya, friend!

Felisol said...

Dear Renae,
Even when you don't see him, he sees your case, and you must wait for him, says Job.
I don't always feel that good, but I know I am good.
Seen and numbered but God.
God bless this day for you.
From Felisol

Renae said...

Thanks, Cheryl!

Aleta, you're right. Even in the hardest times, we have so much to be thankful for.

Tina, Thanks!

Felisol, isn't it great that we have a God who always, always sees us? And He cares. Thanks for the reminder.

Judi "Jlo" Moran said...

Loved this piece - could picture each of the scenes you painted.
What a word artist you are!
Sad about Carrie's short stay with you, but love the moral of your story.
Sometimes it is those who enter our lives for a brief time who have real impact on us and leave us changed forever.
Do I feel a post coming on?
Like the new look, girl.
Jlo

Renae said...

Thanks, Judi. You are right. :-)