imi! Come quick! There’s a baby bird on the ground, and it needs our help!”
Charis called out as she ran into her grandparent’s house.
“What? Well, don’t touch it. Let’s look and see if we can find its nest,” my mom told her. But alas, the bird was in the middle of a field, with only one small tree. Charis looked for a nest, even climbed the tree. There were no birds or nests in sight.
Finally, as gently as possible, Charis used a stick to scoop the tiny, helpless creature into a Dixie cup and brought it to the house. And that, my friends, is how Carrie came into our lives.
It was more than two years ago. I was away on an overnight trip, and the kids were staying with my parents. Charis was playing in the forty-acre yard, singing and skipping and chasing butterflies in the way that only a nine-year-old girl can do, when she spotted movement out of the corner of her eye. She took a closer look and found the baby hummingbird, far from its nest. Barely alive.
Ever-so-tenderly, Charis and Mimi made a nest for the little bird, inside that cup. Holding her finger over the end of a straw, Mimi showed Charis how to feed it. Orange Fanta. The drink of champions.
This is the scene I was greeted with, when I showed up to reclaim my children. “Meet Carrie,” Charis told me, and I watched the tiny bit of fuzz gulp down the orange drink as if it were manna from heaven.
“Why did you name her ‘Carrie’?” I asked.
“Because I just studied about the carrier pigeons,” Charis said.
“You mean the passenger pigeons?” I clarified.
“Close enough,” she said.
So Carrie officially became a part of our family that day. She made her home on Mimi and Poppy’s porch – first in that Dixie cup, and later in a cardboard box. We made sure she was free to leave anytime she wanted. But she never did.
She never even flew, except for a few feet at a time, and only once or twice.
We did our homework and learned that hummingbirds need the protein that comes from eating small bugs. We couldn’t get her to eat bugs, so we mixed a bit of dog food in with her orange soda. It was the best we had.
Poppy did some research and found some special, protein-infused hummingbird food. Fifty-something dollars a box!
Yep. He ordered the food.
For the next several weeks, Carrie was treated like royalty. Her meals were prepared for her. She was hand-fed. Foster and Charis decorated the inside of her box with pictures of trees, and placed leaves and branches there so she’d feel at home. They entertained her with puppet shows, which she watched without blinking. Charis even jumped up and down, in an attempt to teach her to fly.
Believe it or not, the bird jumped when Charis did!
Once, two other hummingbirds came and perched on the side of her box. If we’d known she was planning a party, we would’ve prepared the orange dog food.
The lifespan of a hummingbird is believed to be around three years. But Carrie only lived for a few weeks. It was a sad day for our family, the day our Carrie died.
Charis took it the hardest. “It’s not fair. Why did she have to die? She never even got to fly.”
I didn’t have an answer for her. Why do things like that happen to anybody? She was right. It wasn’t fair.
But then I thought about that tiny little bird, abandoned, alone in a field. She was doomed to be dinner for some predator.
Instead, Carrie was rescued, fed, and loved. She got to experience what few birds do – a puppet show. All things considered, I’d say she had a pretty good life.
Sometimes, life’s not fair. But only God knows what my life might’ve been like, without His intervention.
He’s fed me and given me a place to live. He’s sent me people to live and laugh with. He has loved me.
All things considered, I’d say I’ve had it pretty good.
Luke 12:6 – 7 “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”