Day 22: A Dance of Distress

I was driving down the road the other day, and off to the side of the road was the most beautiful red bird. From my distance, I could see it hopping up and down, almost in a circle, and then flying straight up about one foot, landing, and doing the circle hop again.

As I was quite a ways off when I first noticed him, I saw him repeat this little maneuver over and over and over. It was curious as I had never seen a bird do this before. I mean, other than a vulture. I've seen vultures do that. But this was different. This bird seemed distressed. I thought perhaps his wing was broken.

But as I got closer, I realized that on the ground near him was another red bird, and this one was dead. "They're cardinals," I said as I drove by. "How sad." I could picture them in mid-flight when all of a sudden one of them got struck by a car, fell dead to the ground, and the other one was left there to scream out for help and to mourn.

Cardinals mate for life you know. I know it makes me sound silly that I felt bad for a poor little mateless cardinal. A poor little mateless cardinal screaming out from the side of the road and no one was willing to stop and help. We all just drove by thinking "Oh well, that's just the nature of things. Sad yes, but that's the way it is."

I thought about this cardinal for days. Days and days.

And then yesterday, I passed a woman on the side of the road. I actually didn't notice her until I had already passed her. I was sitting under an overpass in Katy, stopped at a stoplight, and I saw her in my side mirror. She was huddled under an oversized coat, sleeping on her makeshift pillow, propped up against the moorings of the overpass that served as her concrete bed. "How sad," I thought.

Later, as I was thinking about her, I remembered the cardinal. And I couldn't help wondering to myself how many times she cried out for help and none came. I wondered the dance of distress she did. I wondered the moment at which she just resigned herself to curl up into a ball and wait to die.

Morbid thoughts perhaps, but I can't get her out of my mind. How do we, the Church, continue to drive by, to notice these people in passing, and are only moved to sorrow, but not to action.

All that to say, I don't know WHAT to do, but feel compelled that I must do SOMETHING.

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