God Bless This Little Bird

by | May 28, 2001 | Caring

It is easy to believe nowadays that children are being raised without religion and that as a consequence they are not alive to the sufferings of others and may be even be lacking compassion. That this is not always so was made clear to me in precise detail one spring day as I walked my dogs through the field that had been built over the route of the old spur to Hillhouse railway sidings.

It was my regular course, twice a day, and it was not often that I came across anything unusual, apart from meeting old ladies with their dogs of the same vintage as themselves who insisted on telling me the life stories of their precious tykes notwithstanding they had done so in the same place and at the same time the previous day. I was patient, enjoying the precision of the repeated tales, redolent of little children insisting on absolute conformity to an oft told nursery rhyme or færy tale with nerve shattering attention to detail.

The smell that morning was sweet, the luscious greensward having been mown at daybreak by the council’s multi-gang mower that raced across the meadow with the intrepidity and élan of a frustrated Emerson Fitipaldi, and the sun was a foot or two above the tall treetops. My dogs, Shep and Ella, ranged at will, as was their wont, returning for a body check and lick every couple of minutes or so.

And then I saw it. From a distance it looked like a clump of mulch, but it was bigger than the mulch piles for the grass had been cut several times that year and left little now apart from its scent to tell that the mower man had passed that way. Its detail was spectacular. I had found a grave – almost.

A little dead bird had been laid on the ground by the side of the worn track that most pedestrians followed. Heaped over it was a pile of grass cuttings. A few daisies and buttercups had been plucked from the grass and set out at the cardinal points of the compass. Atop the mound lay a rustic cross made of twigs from the nearby hawthorn hedge, and at the head of this mandelic assembly, held down by a couple of pebbles, was a scrap of paper on which, in a girlish hand, was written:

“God bless this little bird.”

Words cannot express the impact that had on my heart as I took in the arrangement and read the sincere expression of the faith of a little child. Tears coursed down my cheeks as I caught the sense of love and compassion that had led to this circumstance. I prayed for the bird to be blessed and also that the child would always find such love in her heart whatever the years might bring and that this little bird would not be the last unfortunate fortunate enough to be blessed at her hands.

My pooches could not understand why I was not advancing, and came to ask as I knelt by the graveside. Perhaps I am just a foolish romantic, but I know my dogs and they knew me, and I got face licked both sides simultaneously as they sympathised with whatever it was that had brought my tears. Then, as dogs are accustomed to do, they romped off to resume their joyous wanderings, leaving me to fix the image in my mind and in my heart.

That was some years ago, but I have never forgotten it. Nor has time dimmed my admiration for the hands of a child whose loving heart compelled her to construct a magnificent memorial to one of those who He sees fall when our attentions are focused on less important matters.

I pray that my Father in Heaven will let me always have the heart of such a child, with such solicitude for the meanest of God’s creatures, for, if we have concern for the smallest of His creatures, we will surely take care of grander issues just as well, and the world will be the better for that.

I knew that I had come across the work of a child who had an understanding heart. Something that King Solomon had to ask for, she was already blessed with – and it showed, for not only did she pay her reverential respect for a little bird, but also she greatly blessed me that day, and never knew it.

Copyright © Ronnie Bray 2003 All Rights Reserved quill@libby.org

Ronnie and his wife Gay are transplants to Montana from England, after serving a church mission together in Tennessee. Ronnie has been writing for 2TheHeart for many years and is a favorite among our readers! You can find his writing in the new 2theheart book (www.cafepress.com/2theheart ) and on Ronnie’s web page: http://www.2theheart.com/author_ronnie_bray


God Bless This Little Bird