Everyday Saints

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STARLING COTTAGE

Twenty sparrows in the Crepe Myrtle

Lord, I am so blessed

A picket fence

A sitting porch

All theses things a woman dreams

And I, here, am allowed to awaken to.

Father,

You make me think of eating Cracker Jacks when I was small.

They were good enough as it was, yet

They still contained a surprise!

(PS:  Please remind me to buy a birdbath.)

“He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge…” Psalm 91: 4 NKJV

Chrystelle Kinsella

© Lyric to the King

BRR! It’s cold out there today! There are only a few brave sparrows poking for breakfast in the snow! Reminds me of a story I wrote about bird feeding when my mother was spending her last days in an assisted living home…

GLADYS, AN EVERYDAY SAINT

Many of us vaguely remember an early Spring day in our childhood when we found a baby bird fallen from its nest. Usually more skin than feathers, they lay there wings askew, weakly twittering a pitiful cry for help. First of all we cursed the cat, and then if not warned by a knowledgeable adult, we took that bird in our little palms; straight away asked mother for an eyedropper, and we began to dig for worms. Most times our efforts failed and we ended up having a humble shoebox funeral while mother reassured us that “God knows each time a sparrow falls.”

Gladys is my mother’s next-door neighbor at an assisted living home. Gladys is one of the sparrows that fell. She told me that she came to live in the home after a terrible stroke and gestured to show me that it struck her from temple to temple. “I had to learn to walk again!” the tall and vibrant senior told me after she returned from one of her walkerless afternoon constitutionals. “ I had to learn to talk again, bless God, bless God!” she said distinctly as she gave us a guided tour of her studio. She pointed with her long and now steady fingers to beautiful beaded necklaces she had strung, and then lamented the parting of a fellow stroke victim she had helped rehabilitate by the sharing of her craft. “I couldn’t use one hand and she couldn’t use the other, so together we tied the knots!” She opened a dresser drawer and then modeled with steady grace one of several elegant the shawls she had crocheted (the ones she hadn’t yet given away).  “My daughters helped me to remember the pattern!” she said with a sparkle of pride.

Gladys spends her days laughing and cheering the other residents at the home. The healed sparrow, like a mother checking on all her little starlings, finds out who did not come down to lunch because they are feeling down, or didn’t show up at the puzzle table because they are puzzled as to where they are, or aren’t at the social hour because they aren’t feeling very social that day.

Every staff member and resident just expects Gladys to show up for every event in every day, but the place she is most often seen is when gathering food for her real baby birds. After dinner she makes her rounds seeking leftovers for her birdie breakfast. Any uneaten French roll or popover is on the menu for a finches feast! Each evening she and her faithful helpers tear their loot into little breadcrumbs and bag it for the birds that know that at precisely seven thirty Gladys will be at their birdhouse on the north lawn to feed them their morning meal. Her birds know she will be there to feed them. Under her watchful eye they are safe and worriless.

I am reminded of the scripture. “Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself… even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, My King and my God.” Psalm 84: 3 NKJV

We are safe and worry-less if we like sparrows abide under the roof of God. Gladys, I’m sure, had a beautiful home before she “fell from the nest’’ because of her stroke, but with her family’s love, her doctor’s care, and her complete trust of her Lord she has made a beautiful new home. I am happy that she will check to make sure that like her other birds—her neighbors are there at breakfast!

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