by © Johnnie Ann Gaskill

 

One morning while I was standing at the kitchen sink, I detected motion on the screened-in porch. With my heart aflutter, I walked to the windows to see what was going on. Turns out it was a small wren trying to escape. She was flying here, there, and everywhere, searching for an opening in the screen wire that boxed her in.

 

“Poor thing,” I thought. “She’s going to wear herself out.”

 

Immediately, I opened the French door leading to the porch and walked to the far side to open the screen door. The bird, obviously panic-stricken, began flapping her wings even more rapidly.

 

“Easy. Easy,” I said. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

 

I left the screen door ajar so she could fly out, which she did the moment I went back into the house.  As soon as she escaped, I started back out there to close the door. But I saw more movement! So, I waited until the second bird made her exit.

 

 After I’d closed the door and started back into the house, I saw some dirt on one of the chair cushions. “Where did that come from?” I wondered.

 

Upon closer inspection, what I’d thought was dirt appeared to be brown hair-like fibers. “Has something—or someone else—been in here?” I asked.

 

I looked anxiously around, hoping I wouldn’t see some other critter that had wandered in during the time my husband had left the screen door open the day before. (And I had reason to be alarmed, since a snake (about 3 feet long!) had found its way in last summer during that kind of opportune moment and was sunning itself on the top of the chair cushion. (But that’s another story!)

 

After doing a bit more detective work, I concluded that the “hair-like fibers” had come from the coconut liners in the hanging baskets overhead. (Whew!) Apparently, the birds had scratched around among the ferns, looking for food and/or making a temporary nest for the night.

 

 How terrified they must have been as they searched in vain for a way out. But what was impossible for them was easy for me. I simply opened the door. No problem. No stress. Just a simple action, from my perspective, but, in their eyes, an amazing one.

 

That experience set me to thinking about how simple actions (and words, as well!) often have profound effects on people, too. In an instant, one action can change a life (or lives) forever. Thus, we must not hesitate to do and say good things! In fact, the Bible clearly says, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you” (Proverbs 3:27-28, New Living Translation).

 

Once I saw the predicament the birds were in and realized it was within my power to set them free, I never considered not helping them. In fact, I hurried to do what they could not do for themselves, just as you also would have done, dear reader.  Therefore, shouldn’t we rush even more quickly to the aid of people, especially when it is within our power to help?

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© 2005 by Johnnie Ann Burgess Gaskill, who welcomes comments sent to jgaskill@charter.net . To secure permission to use this copyrighted material, please contact the author.

 
 
 
 

 

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