Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Baby Bird and Small Stones

We went to Idaho this weekend.
As were were getting ready to leave, my nephew came to say good bye. The sky was dark and threatened rain. The wind was sharp and cold. I realized my nephew had something in his hand. When I looked in, I saw he was holding a tiny, baby bird. I was shocked! It was so small! He held his hands open, and I knew the tiny animal must be very, very cold, for it was completely naked, save a few small feathers. I asked him to come in the house to ask what should be done with the bird.
When I was young, we found a bird's nest in a bush in our front yard. For weeks we watched the nest. We tenderly pulled back the branches to see the nest, first empty, then with small eggs, and finally, tiny baby birds, all grey and fluffy. One day, we went to look in on "our" birds only to find the nest upset, the baby birds gone. Surely a neighborhood cat had found them. I was so sad. Still to this day, I think of those tiny birds. I wished at that time that I had seen the cat, that I had heard something and had come outside and had been able to save the birds and their soft nest. I wondered if the mother bird had died or if she was somewhere, mourning the loss of her babies.
Standing in Idaho, looking at the bird my nephew had found, it looked to me that the bird was not supposed to have hatched yet...perhaps a cat or other animal had disturbed the nest and the animal had been prematurely taken from it's protecting shell. Truly, it looked to still be a fetus to me. But I know NOTHING of fowl.Some people in the family felt the bird should be placed outside, under a tree, to die. It broke my heart to think of that. However, I worried the tiny animal would be in pain being touched and handled so much, and would surely die anyway because of it's prematurity. I didn't want all of the small children to see it die...I also didn't know at all what to do with it, or what to do with it once it died! However, I felt SOMETHING could be done to save it! I just didn't know what. I said we should do what we could for it. That we could put it on a rice bag and warm it up. Someone said we should just let it die. I said, "You are taking to the girl who is starting an orphanage. Don't tell me we should let something die!" I couldn't think through what to do. I didn't want to upset anyone by saying to keep it and care for it. I knew I was outnumbered with that idea. I didn't want to cause a fight. So, I dropped it.
Because the hour was so late, we had to leave then. To be honest, I was happy for the reason to leave. To not have to watch the small bird die.My cousin, Shannika, lives next door to us in Idaho. She has had pet birds, and other pets as well. (She recently saved a small mouse from becoming food for her school classroom's pet snake. It is now her pet.) It was decided we should ask Shannika what should be done with the bird. We left after Shannika arrived at our house and saw the bird.
Several years ago, I went to China. I lived there, and every day I saw people starving on the streets. I saw small children, hungry and cold. I saw mothers with babies, grandparents with small toddlers, their faces chapped from the cold wind, their faces drawn with hopelessness. I gave them money, blankets, a loving word, a gentile touch...I even cried for them. But in the end, I always walked away. I didn't know what to do to help them! I knew something must be done...but what? I knew nothing of caring for homeless people. One girl, I stopped and tried to speak to. It was my first month there, and I didn't know more than a few words of Chinese. I tried to ask her if she wanted to come home with me. Soon, a crowd formed around us...the beggar and the foreigner...What a sight! What would the white girl do? What was she trying to say? It was horrible. Finally, the other foreigner I was with told me I was only making things worse for the girl and we better move on before anything happened. I handed the girl the rest of the chicken on which I had been snacking, and the half drunk water bottle I held. Not wanting to cause a stir, or problems, or discomfort, I moved away. Time and time again, this same situation took place. However, sometimes it was worse. A man lay on the street, day after day, his wife at his side. His leg was broken and part of the bone showed through the swollen, red, infected skin. He was in pain and I saw him day after day. Some days his eyes showed pain. I remember one day where his eyes were staring to the sky. It was blue that day...strange for the sky over China, which was usually just grey with smog. I remember thinking the man must be close to death. He was strangely at peace, his eyes calm and thoughtful and almost smiling as he just stared up to the heavens. I cried several times because of this man. I called my parents to ask them if I should take him to the hospital. I wondered how I would pay for the hospital bill. I wondered how I would even get him TO the hospital. Where he would live once the hospital released him. It was all so overwhelming. I didn't know what to do. I was only one person, and I couldn't think through the whole process. So day after day, I hurt for this man...but still, I walked away.
As I drove on toward Utah and away from Idaho, I wondered about the small bird and what had been done with it. Bryttan was in the car with me, and said that surely they had put it outside to die. I said a silent prayer that God would either keep it alive or would let it die quickly. I prayed it would not be cold and wet in the horrible weather.
Finally, despite Bryttan's insisting that it was outside dead, I called my Mom to ask what the fate of the baby bird had been.To my surprise and joy, she said they had kept the bird. The children had made it a nest in a shoe box, had put a lamp over it as a heating lamp. The kids had given it water from a small dropper and a worm to eat. Even my Mom admitted she had gone in to check on the tiny thing (not that this is surprising...my parents are both very compassionate!).
I thought about the bird. I thought about life, and death. I thought about Small Stones. I thought about how I almost let the bird die because I didn't want to cause problems. I thought of the people in China hadn't "saved" because I didn't want to cause a stir. I thought also about all the things I didn't know how to do. I didn't know HOW to save the baby bird. I didn't know HOW to help the people in China. However, I feel that now, after these years of learning and praying and reading and researching I have learned a lot! I thought of the children I will encounter in China, and how I will NOT let them die. I will not turn a blind eye. I will cause a stir. I will cause discomfort for others, if that needs be. I will not leave them to die. This is the mission of Small Stones. To at least TRY. People keep saying, "You can't save EVERYONE!" Well, I will say here...it is the mission of Small Stones to TRY!
At this time, I also think of all the things I still don't know...and that is why I must find board members. I don't know EVERYTHING... in fact, I don't know much at all. I NEED others to help me! I need people who know different things than what I might know so we can all work together to help as many people as possible.

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