Let me start by explaining that I had the day off from work today- nothing out of the ordinary, I just have Wednesdays off. I started my morning by playing games with my daughter, who is four years old. We made breakfast and afterward, she was sitting in the living room telling me something when a little group of sparrows flew into the big bush by our house-at least most of them did. One unfortunate soul slammed into the big picture window. I glanced out and saw the thing lying on the ground in the flower bed, on it's back. It was twitching a bit, and I stared out with horror. My daughter, luckily, thought it had flown on. She's too short to see into the flower bed.
Now, pause here while I explain something about myself. I am utterly too sensitive to suffering or pain. On one hand, I wish everyone were like me in this respect, because there would be no violence or suffering left in the world if we all reacted this way. I think it's because I've known more than my share of emotional hardships thus far in life, and I've seen what suffering and death look like, and what their aftermath feels like. On the other hand, it makes my daily life hard. Because it hurts to see suffering on any scale-and I just can't leave it alone.
Flash back to little sparrow. I don't prescribe to a religion, per say, but I still like to think something, somewhere is listening. I said a prayer to the effect of hey, if the poor thing's gonna die, just let it be quick, and if not then let it not suffer.
But I'm a bleeding heart, so I put on my coat and heavy gloves (it's like -10,000 degrees here right now- or at least that's what it feels like). I couldn't let it lie in the snow suffering. Though I have no idea what I thought I would do for it. Its still breathing and its eyes are open. My heart hurts. I've held the hands of loved ones and strangers on death's door. I held my dog while he gasped his last after being hit by a car not so long ago. Now I'm looking down at this little bird, thinking one life is as precious as another. I scooped the little thing up and it actually sat up in my hands.
I sat there in the snow, in the shelter of a towering pine taller than our two story house, holding this tiny little sparrow, watching the other birds dance around while I contemplated life. It was probably five minutes or so. Finally, the bird fluttered off to perch in the tree and I went back inside feeling like I'd just witnessed something amazing. I know to everyone else this is a dumb story about a silly little bird that most people wouldn't waste a second of time worrying about. But if you could have felt it- it felt meaningful. And to me no life is little.
I then spent more time with my daughter, who was alight with joy. She hadn't seen the bird lying on the ground, but she'd seen it perched in my hand, and flying away into the tree. When my husband got home from work in the afternoon, we all ventured out to a huge antique shop. Its not something we would usually do, but I wanted to find some vintage jewelry and some silverware to make jewelry from. I ended up talking to several interesting and very kind people for quite a while- even though I'm anti-social as a rule. It made me contemplate the simple little errand that led me to meet them. What's more, I looked at the old things in the shop with a new sort of thoughtfulness. All things that had belonged to someone once. Where were those people now? I picked up a silver pocket watch and turned it over. It said "Grandpa" on the back. Holding it was kind of like holding that little sparrow.
My daughter never broke a single thing, and was able to eat free popcorn. And my husband stated that he actually enjoyed looking at antiques. It was surreal.
While making dinner, I was overcome with this just utterly happy mood. I found myself imagining a colorful, fantastic scene for my current WIP, which I jotted down to work on this evening. After my daughter went to bed, I sat down at my computer and the next thing I know I'm gazing at 3,700+ words.
I feel incredibly blessed today, and filled with wonder for the things I don't understand. And I can only hope that tomorrow is as sweet.
May you find inspiration everywhere.