I haven't posted here in a month. I appreciate the e-mails I've received wondering where I am. It is a nice feeling to be missed, and have others notice when you aren't where you normally are. Contrary to the suspicions of Marcy, at Blessings Each Day, I am not trying to see how many comments I can tally up between extended postings. Hardy har, Mar. ;-)
Just as when I took a break over the Christmas and New Year holidays, I find my absence here indicative of the time of year at hand. Spring has been calling me outdoors. We have some pretty uncomfortable weather in these parts during the summer. It gets really hot, and really humid. I know that any work I do outdoors has to be done in the spring, because once the temperatures register in the upper 90's, with high humidity to boot, I begin my summer hibernation. Air-conditioning, thou art my friend!
We had a bad storm around here a few weeks ago. Trees toppled all over town. We didn't lose any of our trees, but a very large limb (the size of a small tree!) did break off and land in our front yard. I awoke before daylight to the sound of the fierce wind and driving rain. I began to pray, as did Mr. Studley. That huge limb could so easily have fallen toward our house, but I think a mighty angel forced it the other direction.
In the early afternoon, the day of the storm, Mr.S was cleaning storm debris from our front lawn when he came inside and said "you'd better come look at this". The forboding in his voice made me want to do just the opposite! I followed him around the corner of the house to see a dead baby bird lying on it's back in the grass. Flies were crawling all over it, in it's eyes, and down in the crevices of it's feathers. I said "it's dead", frankly wondering why he wanted me to look at a dead bird. He said he thought so, too, until he nudged it with his foot and saw it move. I picked up a tiny branch with leaves and used it to shoo the flies away. When I touched it's head, it did move, ever so slightly.
Mr. Studley asked me if there was anything we could do for the bird. It had obviously been lying there on it's back since the pre-dawn hours when the storm occurred. First of all, it had gone too long without being fed, considering it was now afternoon. Baby birds don't drink water. They receive their hydration from the food their mother feeds them, and she does so about every 15-20 minutes of daylight hours at that stage of life. This little fellow wouldn't have had anything to eat since dusk the evening before when mom settled in the nest to roost for the night. I knew he was likely dehydrated, and pneumonia was probably settling into his lungs; aside from the fact that he appeared to have a broken back.
I told Mr. S that the bird would die, but I couldn't bear leaving it to die in the grass with flies crawling all over it. I got a small box from the house, and lined it with a piece of old, soft t-shirt from the rag bag. It's legs were extended straight out, and it was as stiff as a board. I gently placed it in the box, and walked toward the house. Mr. S asked if I'd prayed for it. I said, "yes, I did. I asked God to take it quickly, so it would be out of it's misery". He, ever the optimist, who walks in great faith, said "why didn't you pray and ask God to heal it?". Insert eye roll. Somehow, I just knew he was going to ask me that! It isn't that I don't think God's capable of healing a bird. It was my own lack of faith I was doubting. I was reminded of the scripture that we are all given a measure of faith. God is no respector of persons. Jesus lives inside of me, and He has complete faith. Therefore, so do I.
I have prayed prayers of healing before, both for people and animals. As I stretched forth my hand toward this little bird, I had a sense that something was different. I slowed myself down, realizing this was no time for hurrying. As I placed my hand on that little bird's broken body, I closed my eyes and imagined the very hand of Jesus stretching forth, healing that little bird. It wasn't a goosebump feeling, or a bright light shining from Heaven. It was simply an awareness of Who lives in me. It gave new meaning to my mind of the scripture that says "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).
I carried the box through the house to the garage, and placed it on the chest freezer. I knew it would be safe from the cat there. It was a busy day, as you can imagine. My son and his buddy arrived with a chainsaw and a chipper shredder to clean up the tree limb from the yard. After about an hour, I went out and checked the bird. When I touched him, he tried to raise his head, which was more movement than before. I truly didn't give it much thought, then went on outside to help with the clean-up. About an hour after that, I thought to check him again. This time, he'd pulled one leg up under his body. The other leg remained stiffly extended. Back I went to helping clean. This time, I let a couple hours go by before thinking to check on him. Both legs were now pulled up under him, though he still lay stiffly.
After all the clean up was done, Mr.Studley had gone off to the shower, and my son and his buddy left to return the equipment. I again remembered to check on the bird. As I looked in that box, he was sitting there. I said "well, hey there, fella, how're you doing?". If you've ever had any dealings of caring for baby birds (fledgelings) in the wild, you'll know they are terrified of you for the first day or so. If you attempt to capture one whose on the ground, you have to be so very careful, as they'll injure themselves trying to get away from you. The only time I do try and capture one is if I know it's orphaned, or Mamma is nowhere around, and cats are. As I looked at the little bird and spoke to it, he remained quite calm, apparently unafraid of me. SO unafraid that he hopped from the box onto my finger! This was so amazing, for as I said, a normal bird would be trying desparately to escape if physically able. This bird came toward me. He just sat there on my finger looking at me. A bird, that several hours before lay seemingly dead in the grass. Folks, that is what I call a miracle.
I walked outside with little newly named Lazarus on my finger. My son had arrived back home by this time. I asked him to take some pictures before I released Lazarus. I walked around the yard for several minutes, hoping Lazarus would call his mommy. By this time, Mr.Studley had come outside and was staring in amazement at the bird he'd last seen looking dead hours earlier. After a few minutes, Lazarus cried out in that hungry cry that says "Mom, I'm hungry, what's for dinner"? You know how it thrills your heart when your child who has been sick finally says "I'm hungry?" After a couple of times of doing that, I noticed a Robin flying into the tree above our heads. She began circling around from branch to branch. It was Mamma Robin! I placed little Lazarus on a low lying branch in a small tree, then retreated to the porch to observe. Mamma Robin flew straight to Lazarus. After giving him a once-over, she flew to the ground, quickly got a worm, then flew back to the tree to feed Lazarus. We watched this for about 15 minutes, then went inside. The next morning, Lazarus still sat in that same spot, and Mamma Robin was still feeding him every few minutes.
That afternoon, they left the tree, but we continued to see them in our yard and the neighbor's yards for the next week or two. We knew it was them, because little Lazarus would hop along behind her as she was searching for food. When she got something, she'd take it to him. His little wings would start to flap excitedly as he gobbled down his dinner. Over a period of several days, we watched this, and saw Lazarus growing, and eventually flying. We were reminded of God's goodness and His power each time we watched them. Lazarus is now full grown, and we can no longer pick him out from the other birds, but we know he's fine. God is good!
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.
~Matthew 10:8 New American Standard