The other day I killed a bird. On purpose.
It was a mercy killing but still. I killed Antoine. (I don’t know if it the bird was a boy or if his name was Antoine but it looked like an Antoine.)
This is a big deal. It’s a big deal because I don’t kill. Really. I’m the girl who picks up the worms off the driveway after the rains. I’m the girl who gently catches the moth or fly and ushers them out the door with blessings and well wishes. I’m the girl who tries to get the wax off the June Bug’s legs after he kamikazes into my candles on the deck and becomes ‘grounded’. I’m the girl who cried (real tears) in Lithuania when a team member raised a fist in front of me to squash an innocent bug just trying to make his way home across the kitchen table.
So to purposefully kill a beautiful bird is completely out of character for me. Allow me to explain, then, how I ended up ending a life.
I went for a walk and, as I passed through the neighborhood, I saw this little bird flopping around on the ground near the sidewalk. I stopped and observed that little Antoine was struggling to stand up. So, I gently set him up on his feet. He hopped around a little and then fell back over. That was the moment I knew I was in trouble because I could not un-see what I had just seen. If I kept walking, I would think of that little helpless bird and all the neighborhood dogs that might find him defenseless. I texted a friend for options and he stated what I believed to be true as well. “You aren’t going to be able to put it out of it’s misery. So you need to leave him and walk away.” That wasn’t an option either.
So, I picked little Antoine up and started walking with him cradled in my hands. I knew this wasn’t going to end well for either of us but if he died at least he wouldn’t be alone. As I walked, I prayed for God to use my little hand cocoon as a miracle oven and heal the little guy. I promised I wouldn’t tell anyone just like Jesus asked many in Scripture to do after witnessing a miracle. But no miracles. After awhile, Antoine was even more contorted and I knew that there was nothing that could be done for him. He was going to die. And most likely it would drag on or some animal would get him.
I was going to be miserable no matter what – if I abandoned him or if I killed him. At least Antoine’s misery could end quickly.
I found a hidden part along the trail and set Antoine down in a pile of grass and leaves and watched him struggle. The tears were coming now and I was praying for strength. I looked around and found the biggest rock I could find – something that would make it quick and painless. I lifted the rock high above Antoine and held it there. I went back and forth about whether I could do this. Just as I was getting the nerve to drop it, a little, innocent human family came around the corner and I quickly lowered the rock and acted like I was looking at something interesting on the surface of the rock. At least I could shield these children from the trama and brutal reality of life and death.
After they passed, I picked up the rock and lifted it high above Antoine. I asked his forgiveness and after several seconds which seemed like minutes, I dropped it.
And missed him completely.
I picked it up again. Prayed. Cried. And dropped it. I will sum up this next part by saying it took two painful drops before Antoine was at peace.
I left him there. I walked and I wept. I felt horrible. But at the same, weird time I had an inner peace – a peace that came from knowing I did the right thing. It wasn’t easy but it was what was best. I knew that. I truly didn’t think I had it in me but when it came down to it, the desire to end another’s pain was greater than my own and gave me the strength to do what was needed even though it was hard and it hurt.
I remember realizing later on in the walk that I was stronger than I thought. I didn’t find joy in it and I would gladly take back the whole experience. But I can’t and when it counted, I did what I needed to do.
It fits with the journey I’ve been on in recent months. Finding my strength. Realizing that I can do what is needed even though it might be hard and it might hurt. Facing the reality of certain situations or relationships and walking through the hard part to the other side of healing. Sometimes you need to face that a dream, ideal or relationship has become so contorted that it can never take flight. Often the contortion is no one’s fault but our own. The best thing for it and for you is to kill it. That is often as hard for me as it is to kill a living creature. So I allow situations, ideals or unhealthy relationships to flop along in misery much longer than I should and everyone suffers. I look for other options, pray for miracles, manufacture things to prop it up but in the end, I know in my heart – it is the end. Drop the rock and walk away.
The strength that I’ve found recently comes from a place of assurance. Not an assurance in my own strength or abilities for that is the weakest foundation that has failed me many times and will fail me again in the future, I’m sure. My recent strength comes from an assurance that I belong to Someone. I’m secure in His love and He alone makes me worthy. It is similar to when you are in love with someone and they are in love with you. You feel invincible and strong and secure. It is different in that our Abba will never fail us. His Love will never run out or quit on us.
When I remember Whose I am and how He loves me, I find the Strength needed to do the things that might be hard and that might hurt but are the right thing to do. And I can live out of that Strength as I grieve hard endings and keep on walking towards new beginnings.
Have you ever had to do anything that was hard and that hurt but it was the right thing to do? How did you find the strength to do it? Is there something in your life that you have to daily put to death?
The other day I killed a bird. On purpose.