If you can indulge me for yet another bird story, this is, I think, my favorite one yet. I do see mostly owned pets, and mostly dogs and cats for that matter. But this patient, if you could even give him that title, was the strangest little encouragement I have ever been sent, and I thought you should meet him. I do not know what his Given Name is, but I will call him Little Jack Sparrow.
I had just finished picking strawberries this past fall and was sitting on our porch swing on an afternoon off. Lest you think I had anything to do with how deep and powerful this experience was, I was not contemplating anything deep or powerful. I was trying to decide how many strawberries to eat and how many to save for Amanda and Abby for their after school snack. I was looking at the bottom of my bucket hoping they would not be very hungry.
To my left and behind me, a scraggly little sparrow crash-landed in the grass. I said, “Hi little bird. What are you doing?” And he cocked his head and hopped towards me. So I kept talking. Each time I paused, he would take a few hops closer. When he was right next to me, I reached out to pet him, and he put his head down to be scritched behind the neck, like a big old tame pet parrot might. This close, I could see that his eyelids were swollen and matted closed. I had no way of knowing what shape his eyeballs were in behind that snotty mess, so I said, “Can you stay here a minute? I have some eye examination supplies inside!”
He hopped right onto the pumpkin vine in front of me and cocked his head as if to say, “I don’t have to be at my next appointment for quite some time.” I ran inside like it was the most normal thing in the world and grabbed some saline, gauze and eye drops.
Amazingly, when I got back outside, Little Jack Sparrow was still sitting on the pumpkin vine. I knelt down and picked him up. He let me scrub his face and wipe out his eyes till I could see that the eyes behind his eyelids were clean and healthy.
He looked around, as if absorbing the moment he could see again, and then flew to the top of the neighbor’s pine. I stood up and watched him for a good twenty minutes as he sat at the top of the pine tree.
Maybe the next newsletter…I know, they are supposed to be about practical pet health care tips…but maybe the next newsletter will be about two for a penny, or how deep the love of God must be to send such a very specific encouragement, or how strange it is that such a huge and powerful God would orchestrate such a searing moment with a small, brown, scruffy bird, but for now, I just wanted to let you in on the amazement and wonder that is that little brown sparrow. Maybe the biggest lesson here is how very fortunate I am to know Jack’s Owner. It was one of my best moments as a veterinarian.
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Matthew 10:29-31, NIV