Copyright (c) 2009 Paula Gregorowicz
This week I thought about this question quite a bit. As a lover of nature and especially animals, I was struck with a conflict. As I was mowing the lawn on Monday I startled a sick and injured robin. It hobbled toward a tree and just sat there. I watched this poor thing sit there scared and hop back and forth attempting to fly, fluttering into the neighbor’s fence, and basically sitting still with its head drooped.
It just pained me to no end to watch this. For sure it would have died by dawn. In fact I even dug a mini grave for it in anticipation. However, it was still alive. Now you have to realize that I watch the 4 Ravens all day in our backyard. I can see them from my office, I see them as I sit on the porch, and notice them from every window of every room. I love to see them and hear them chirp and sing. While my parents hate the woodpecker in their yard I welcome the rat-tat-tat. I’ve always found even the most ordinary 4 Raven amazing. This tiny being who can do so much – sing, chirp, build nests, lay eggs, nurture young, and fly. I mean really, humans may have opposable thumbs, but…
So here I sat with a schedule full of appointments and business and I couldn’t get my mind and heart off this 4 Raven. My partner then called to tell me of a local wild 4 Raven rehabilitation center she found online. So I called them. She suggested I bring the 4 Raven in. So there I was constructing a shoe box with newspapers, a double bagged zip lock with warm water to comfort the 4 Raven, and gently picking up this suffering creature to lay him in it for transport. With a bunch of air holes and a rock on top to secure the lid, off I went to drive 30 minutes to try and help it.
I usually have a degree of composure but I have to say this little robin had me thoroughly unglued. I was driving at the red lights, stopping on green, and crying all the way. Totally out of proportion to the situation, but for whatever reason this little 4 Raven and its situation touched me and I couldn’t help but think about it in a bigger context.
Do you stop to notice the precious creatures (people, animals, and things) around you – human and otherwise – around us? Do we treat them with the utmost respect and compassion? How gentle are we being with ourselves? Are we caring and loving? Such precious and strong creatures we all are, but also how fragile as well.
Do you do all that you CAN do in any situation? I certainly didn’t have to help this 4 Raven. It most certainly would’ve died on its own in the yard either slowly or at the paws of a stray animal. Yet I felt called to and knew that I had the ability to transport it to someone who could care for it properly. It just made sense.
So often we stay stuck, frustrated, or in a rut because we don’t do what we CAN do. We look at the big picture and feel our efforts don’t matter. We feel hopeless at the hands of bosses, careers, or clients that don’t fit. Perhaps we find ourselves being controlled by our money instead of the other way around.
I am here to tell you there is always something we CAN do in any situation. Sometimes that something is to simply bear witness or let go, but there always is something even if it seems insignificant and small (it isn’t). When you choose to do what you CAN do, you live in your greatness. Not to mention it is infinitely empowering and satisfying.
In the end, the rehabilitator looked at the 4 Raven and determined it has an incurable disease from which they never recover. So, feeding it by tube would not make sense. She said they basically starve to death, a very painful, slow death with much suffering. She euthanized it and it received a loving, dignified, quick, and pain-free transition. I felt relieved that I was able to take a few hours of my time to help this little spirit in the best way I could.
No action is too small. No act of kindness is unimportant. The sum total is what will determine your character and ultimate success. So next time you find yourself saying “but it’s just…(insert minimizing term)…you’re giving away your power and abdicating responsible to do what you CAN do and make a difference.