Little Things –
While I was outside mowing today a big shadow went across me and when I looked up it was a Turkey Vulture. It hovered and landed on a high branch of the Oak Tree outside our front door. It wasn’t long before it was joined by another who was surveying the area for anything dead and rotten. My focus went back to mowing until shadows appeared overhead again. It was the Turkey Vultures being chased away by a Mockingbird who has a nest in an adjoining tree. The Mockingbird was relentless, swooping up and then dive bombing both Turkey Vultures that had to be five times its size. I watched until the Turkey Vultures were out of sight and the Mockingbird perched high on a tree scanning the horizon for their return.
I found it comical and awesome that this small bird could put the two large ones to flight. Then I thought about the Turkey Vultures and their appetite for spoiled, rancid, deceased things. I also reflected on how in our lives there are times the Vultures are circling. We’re tired, weak, worn out, done for and the scavengers surround us. Then, when it seems the end, someone says or does an act of warmth, love, empathy, and chases the Vultures away. It may be a small act but it has a great impact on us. We are renewed and able to keep going.
No act of kindness no matter how “small” is ever wasted.
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We have a family of rabbits living underneath our shed. Every now and then, when we go outside, we spot one of them. They aren’t too afraid of us because we do our best not disturb the big or little ones. Trooper, our Siberian Husky, on the other hand, is on the lookout for a new play buddy. The problem is his “toys” are deceased after he plays with them. So, we have become the rabbit’s protectors. We do our best to make sure they aren’t in the area Trooper likes to frequent outside, know there is danger nearby making noise and giving them reasons to run and hide for a while. Though we try we know that Trooper or another predator could make quick work of the rabbit family. Snakes, cats, coyotes, raccoons, other varmints are dangers which could strike any day at any time.
There are many things we desire to protect in life. Some are possessions but for most of us, we long to protect the ones we love. However, as grow older, and hopefully wiser, the more we realize we cannot protect them from everything. Truthfully we cannot protect them from much that life throws their way. We can be there for them we can help them through the difficulties they are going through. This is a form of protection, one which reminds them they are never alone.
I texted a deceased person today. I intended to text the person I just didn’t know he had passed away on Sunday evening.
On my way to a community meeting this morning I drove through a small town and read on a local business sign; “R.I.P. Jim Smith.“* It took me a moment, the name sounded familiar, and then I recognized it as a name of one of the fathers in our program. The next second it dawned on me he had also once worked at the business with the sign. I called someone who knew the father and he confirmed that; “Yes, he was in a car accident over the weekend and lost his life.” It became even more shocking when I realized I’d texted the deceased father a couple of hours earlier. I was doing my routine check-in with him and many of the other dads our program works with to see how their week was going. Jim* was an engaged father, in his early 20’s, with one infant daughter he adored. He worked full-time, went to school and loved his wife and family.
After the confirmation of his passing everything else melted away. I prayed for his family but truly cannot imagine the hurt, doubt and confusion they are experiencing. At lunch I talked with Beth and told her about the dad. She then said she had spoken with a wife this morning, whose husband had recently taken his own life, after a long battle with alcohol. Death, it seems, is making it’s presence known this Tuesday. We both told each other; “I love you very much!” as we ended the conversation.
We are but candles swiftly extinguished. The light of our lives burn brightly and quickly dim. There is no tomorrow, no guarantee of another breath, moment or chance to let those we care for, appreciate and love know how much they mean to us.
*names have been changed to protect confidentiality