Heroes Start Small

So Barefoot Girl rescued a fledgling bird last night from the clutches of a neighborhood cat.

We were all having fun with a before-bed game of frisbee in the front yard when we heard what we hear too often: the terrible sound of a caught baby animal. A neighbor cat was running down the driveway next to ours carrying the crying animal before it jumped into the weeds across the road.

In my cynical adult mentality, I was more than willing to watch the cat run into the weeds with the crying animal and turn away from the pain I could do nothing about. Not Barefoot Girl. She followed the sound and ran to the other side of the woods (barefoot, of course) where the cat emerged with a baby bird still crying in its mouth.

Somehow, she saved this baby bird from the cat. I don’t know how. She says she tricked the cat into dropping it – who does that?? A determined kid, that’s who. She came walking back with a fledgling that looks like a cat or cow bird – somehow unhurt – and put it back where we think it came from.

And the bird was still alive this morning, on the ground again. I’ve been watching and I’ve only seen parents go down to it once, so we’ll see what happens with it.

This girl amazes me. She makes me remember what it’s like to be young, full of hope and the belief that anything is possible if we try. An adult already considers it impossible to save a bird from a disappeared cat – a kid says there’s a chance. This bird might live . . . I’m gonna give it a chance. She reminds me that instead of running from pain, we should run toward it: to fix it, to heal it, or at least to feel it.

We never ignore it.

Kids also make us aware of how involved they are in their actual (not perceived!) life. They’re not consumed with stress and worry over matters that are far away from them and they have no control over. They’re busy making a difference in the here and now in whatever way life presents itself. How can we, as adults, become more place-centered the way they are?

I know that for me, it’s an intentional shift everyday to really attend to what’s around me. I know that other than some thoughtful political involvement, there’s not a lot I can really do to affect the greater world. But what I can do is love the family and friends that I have, to spread healing wherever there is pain, to make a home that feeds the souls of all who come into contact with it. The reality is that for most of us our circle of real influence is small, but if we care well for those small circles, they combine with other circles to eventually produce a positive change in the world.

It all starts with hope. Hope that there is a chance.

Letting Go

I ripped out our garden this week. You know, the one I was so excited about this year. And somehow, it felt good.

Seems like this is the homestead year of two things: the chicken, and letting go.

The dear, dear chickens (of which we have so many) would just not leave the garden alone this year. I built the frames to keep them out and they wriggled through anyway. It’s not like they don’t have an acre and a half of yard to roam, but I guess the garden was better. After the third or fourth time of replanting and trying to save it, I decided I was done.

Letting go of not just the garden, though. There are several situations in my life right now that God has brought in in order to teach me that I have to let go of my hold on control (tenuous though it may be): a dear friendship that for all appearances has failed, a struggling marriage to a spouse with severe anxiety and depression, facing the reality that my life and family are not what I thought they would be. The garden is a small thing.

Control is the antithesis of trust, and trust has always been the biggest issue of my walk with God; it was, I’m sad to say, due to my lack of trust in His plan for my future that I began to walk my own path instead of His as a teenager. He was with me still and I definitely see how He “works all things together for good,” but that doesn’t mean that He will let me stay in that immature state of not trusting Him now.

In order to trust God I have to let go — not just of my control, but my desires, my plans, even my dreams, in order to model my life after the Savior that laid down His own. That doesn’t mean that what God has in store isn’t more brilliant and beautiful than any I could dream up, for I’m learning that joy and peace are precious. Letting go also gives space to an area of my life to see how these things should take shape in it . . . without my controlling the process or the outcome.

Let go and … not leap.

Stay.

And trust Him.

C.S. Lewis is reputed to have said “There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” I think that’s true, but the point I’m learning is that it’s not enough to just think something. We have to act on it. With that being said, Kenny and I both felt a weird little space after I took the garden out of the backyard . . . like releasing a breath of air we didn’t know we’d been holding. You know, it turns out we didn’t like the spot it was in anyway.