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Fallen Wings

God saw a bird fall from heaven yesterday.

The day was gorgeous. The cerulean sky, dotted with the occasional cloud, seemed to hang close to the vibrant grass and the bobbing flowers. The cool breeze beckoned me to run with it.  

The sun was plummeting toward the horizon when I finally took to the roads. Twice I jogged past a dead bird on the asphalt, slain by a car. Once I had conquered six miles, I allowed my pace to deteriorate to a meander and returned to the bird—which I had identified as a waxwing—my favorite type of bird.

Since I first saw one half a decade ago, I’ve loved cedar waxwings. In my mind, robins were too bland; Cardinals, too gaudy; Blue jays, too cocky. But waxwings were different. With a coat of feathers bathed in rich and opulent hues of tan and yellow, decorated with sharp and eloquent patterns, and made complete with nearly hidden, but glowing highlights, these birds are not among the mundane.

I drew closer, crouching down. It was nearly eviscerated by the car that had hurtled into it and all life was strained from the body. It was so small, in such a big wide world, under such an expansive sky, one in a billion birds on an interminable desert of asphalt—it was the picture of loneliness.

The tatters of its silken sashes retained their color—even with mottles of blood. Its desperado-style mask enshrouded empty eyes, never to see again.

I thought of a verse.

Mat 10:29-31; Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

I treasure the thought of God being with the sparrows and the waxwings. The world is dark, empty, and scary apart from God, and it makes me sad to think of even the birds living without Him. I ran by this bird twice, and only then cared to examine its dead body. But God was with it its entire life. And there when it died. He was watching over it, even as it met a premature death. And He promises to be with us.

We’ll never understand God’s timing. I don’t know why that bird fell from the heavens, but God does.

Using an inverted plastic sandwich bag that I had in my pocket as a glove, I slid the small body of the dead bird over. Then I lifted it from the road as carefully as if it were living and slipped it into the bag.

With my mind tuned into ornithology mode, I noted group of birds wheeling about above me, swooping for mosquito hawks. The flock collided with an ornamental tree and permeated its plexus of bare branches. I crept closer so that I could see them better. While my interest paid off, my caution in approach was hardly warranted. They had little fear of me.

There were so many of them. But still, I had one of these avian air-treaders, bloody and cold, in my pocket.

There was little consolation among the living.

I took it home, and I buried it by my garden this morning.

I thank God for His provision and care for the birds I love and the people I love.

God bless.

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