Lenten Post for March 31, 2023

Claudio Carvalhaes, today’s Good Courage writer, shared a dramatic, and emotion-laden story of finding a frail and tiny bird while he was out for a walk. He brought the bird home. First he looked for a place to take it, to hand it off to those who could care for it. Then he Googled to learn what he could do. He fed and tended the bird for hours.

The poor little bird died.

Of course it died. It was out of the nest before it could thrive on its own. It was away from fellow nestlings, and their bird parents. From Claudio’s own description, it was not well developed.

It’s a sad story, that pulls at my heart.

And, I wonder.

After 30 plus years as a pastor, many of them as a volunteer on-call hospital chaplain, and after quite literally, thousands of funerals, I have to wonder.

Claudio’s efforts to save the bird were kind of heroic. But were they for the bird, for Nature as a whole- for God’s Creation that needs and deserves our stewardship and love- or were these efforts, in a way, for Claudio?

I’ve been with family members who were not ready to say yes to death.

I’ve also been with family members who prayed mightily that God would take their loved one, and relieve the suffering.

Often, they are seeking the relief of their own suffering, at seeing their loved one in pain, as well as end to their loved one’s distress.

I can understand those prayers.

I would not suggest that Claudio act any differently. But I wonder if there might have been a different way to approach the care he offered.

What if he’d thought of his work as palliative, rather than “life-saving”?

Would that have better served the deep needs of the little bird, of God’s Creation, and Claudio?

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