I was holding my breath as I bent down toward the little fellow. With Tim right beside me, waiting to get his chance to see the state bird of Maine up close and personal, I was so thankful to see the twinkling little eye looking back up at me. Although it was apparent he was still stunned and possibly in shock from the impact, he was alive. His tiny chest rising and falling with each breath.
Tim and I began talking very soothingly to Chick Jr., so lovingly named by my little softie. No idea of the "Jr." part, but that is beside the point. He had landed in some weeds (who let those grow in the flower bed??). It was crazy how light and fragile CJ seemed. Hard to imagine that he could survive a terrible crash into an unforgiving window.
With the removal of the last blade that his claw had clasped onto, I was able to pick up CJ and hold him gingerly in my hands. His little feet grabbed onto my finger, not hurting me, but definitely telling a story that he was afraid and unsure of his footing. He sat with his eyes closed some. He did not move or try to fly away. He never flinched when we petted his pretty black head.
We all had our turns at holding him. Hands open as to not hold on too tightly and harm him further, he willingly sat there for us to coo at and coddle over for a few minutes.
As his wits returned to him, I was sure he would flap his wings and fly off to the nearest branch away from harm's way.
He stayed. Seemingly content. Not fearful of being contained or stifled.
I had to pick up his little feet and place them one by one on a branch from a bush nearby where he had fallen. He sat there and allowed us to continue to pet him and talk to him...and take pictures, of course.
Later that evening I was watching a movie and a woman was describing how her mom had told her once it was best to love with an open hand. Not holding on too tightly, as to crush and smother, but granting the freedom to grow and experience life on one's own goes hand in hand with always providing support and a safe place to land when the one you love needs it.
The image of CJ sitting on our open hands flashed in my memory. How fitting it was to hear that analogy. Had we held on to CJ we could have injured him more. Had we chosen to hover over him and put him in a cage for our very own, we would have stolen the freedom in being what God created him to be...a wild bird. We had loved him with open hands. When the time came, I even had to place him on a branch by himself when he was too content being in my hand.
With that came a few concerns about what would happen to him after he flew away. With that also came a few happy thoughts that he'd stay close by and keep coming to our bird feeder for a few more days. With our open hands came the freedom to be a bird who could do what birds do. Fly.
He sat on that branch for quite awhile as we sat and watched him. He jumped a couple of times, flapped his wings, and began twitching his head more like that of a bird who did not just slam into a closed window. We had to trust that he would be okay as we walked away and went on with our day.
I want to be one who loves with an open hand. As God directs me, I want to lead my boys and others by example to follow Him while supporting, giving encouragement, and offering a lending hand when asked to or needing to. However, also allowing for growth and movement outside of my control, not sheltering too much or overprotecting. Then I want to celebrate the victories and successes with them and discuss the failures and how to learn from them.
These next few years will be a time of learning this art of open handed loving as my boys grow older. With God's help, I know we can make it through.