Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings,
and not one of them is forgotten before God?
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

— Luke 12:6,7


Long ago, a little boy we know came upon a dead baby bird on the driveway after a big thunderstorm. His family can still quote him exactly:


“The wain hitted him on da head.


“The thun-dare scaaaaaaaaa-wed him.


“The lightning struck-teded him, and dead-eded him.”


He said it solemnly. He said it sincerely. And no one will ever let him live it down.


But hey: I have yet to meet a kid who doesn’t love baby birdies.


I’m right there with them. Recently, a bird got caught inside our porch. She kept throwing herself at the windows, repeatedly stunning herself when what seemed to be air, wasn’t.


I went out there with a broom, nudged her onto it, and gave her a quick ride to the nearest door. She zoomed to the nearest tree branch, and gave me a loud, long pep talk.


“Figures you’d have a broom handy,” my husband remarked. (He thinks I’m a lot nicer to timid woodland creatures than to him.)


The point is, I was desperate to help her. Everyone I know has a similar story. Why should we care so much about birds? Most of the ones around our homes, you can’t eat. Their songs aren’t that melodious, their feathers aren’t that colorful, and they don’t make good pets.


You know: robins and sparrows, starlings and chickadees. We live around a lot of little gray and brown birdies that don’t seem to be anything special.


Kind of like us humans. You can’t eat us (or you sure shouldn’t), we don’t sing that well, our plumage is drab sweatshirts and jeans, and we don’t make very good pets, either.


But birds can fly. How we love to watch them fly! They can defy gravity! They can transcend things that tie other creatures down!


And if THEY can do it. . . .


On the wings of birds fly our own unspoken wishes, that from time to time we might fly . . . that there might be things about us that are worthwhile and marvelous and unexpected, too. Things to make others love us, and take care of us . . . including that Big Bird in the sky, the One Who made us all in the first place.


As usual, the heart of a child sees this most clearly.


It happened last week, between rainstorms: Maddy, 5, was on an evening jaunt with her dad on the ATV, down to our neighborhood pond to check on the visiting geese and the box turtle.


I was fixing dinner when suddenly, there was a noise outside like a speeding tank. The door slammed open. Furious little footsteps pounded down the hall.


“MOM!!! There’s a baby birdie! Down at the pond! He’s tangled in fishing line! He can’t fly and he’s getting tired! He’s going to die if we don’t cut him loose! I need the scissors!”


Her eyebrows formed a perfect “V” of loving concern.


Her hair had been whipped into a wet mop in the rain and the wind.


My heart nearly burst at the sight of her, in her ladybug raincoat and stomp-the-puddles boots, cautiously carrying the sharp end of those scissors in her fist while hurrying back to the waiting ATV.


They rushed back to the young robin and cut the line. He immediately vaulted to the nearest high branch, and gave them a loud, long pep talk.


When they came home, they were drenched, but beaming.


They were heroes.


They’d noticed, and they’d cared.


They’d saved a life.


By their efforts, they’d shared in the ecstatic moment of release, that joyous flight.


They felt a little bit like God feels. He does that kind of thing every second of every day, for all of His chicks, fancy and fine-feathered, or meek and plain.


It’s an old song, but it has wings:


I sing because I’m happy /

I sing because I’m free /

His eye is on the sparrow /

And I know He watches me.

By Susan Darst Williams | | Animals & Pets | © 2020