Friday, May 19, 2017


     Birds love to nest right inside and above our enormous barn door.  Every year we watch them swooping in with twigs, hair and other building supplies.  Soon, the twittering above the door increases and we see the birds bringing different supplies into our barn: worms, grubs and other bugs, the treasures of parent birds with young mouths to feed.  The barn becomes alive with the sound of many a small bird attempting to demand food above the cackle of its siblings while the mature birds bicker over property lines and bawk at the sight of us intruding humans.
     For the most part, I enjoy this noisy orchestra and the bustle of birds floating in and out of the barn (minus the days I find myself cleaning their mess off of walls, stall doors or the floor).  What I do not enjoy are the dead, naked baby birds we tend to find on the barn floor during this time of year.  Muscled out of the nest by stronger siblings, the weaker birds fall to the concrete below, helpless to save themselves if not dead on impact.  It is one of the most pitiful sights I have ever seen.
     This "Survival of the Fittest" rule amongst animals is a harsh one, and every year it pains me a little to see the demise of something so helpless though I know it is part of life.  This year, the sight of those little birds struck me with another thought--that we humans are blessed with the choice to play by a different rule--the rule of compassion.
     We can choose to help those who cannot help themselves.
     Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Compassion as "sympathetic consciousness of other's distress together with a desire to alleviate it."  In Luke 10:33 we read about the "Good Samaritan" who was "moved with compassion" to help a man whom most would have considered his enemy.  Christ-like compassion is powerful and it is through the weak, the poor and the needy that we learn this Christ-trait best.  We need them, which is perhaps why Jesus promises that we will always have them among us (Mark 14:7).