That cold evening I was preparing for guests, when an unexpected visitor dropped into my fireplace. No, not Santa Clause, but a bird that had been nesting in the chimney. I interrupted her sleep by opening the damper to the outside, fortunately before lighting the fire.
The fall was frightening enough for this little being, but now she was in unfamiliar surroundings, closed to the natural outside. She crashed against the ceiling three times, then a wall, then sat on the floor, in a small, gray clump. I approached her, speaking gently. In fear, she flew again to the ceiling, crashing. Again and again.
She spotted the atrium through the dining room window, with plants glowing under amber floodlights. More crashes, this time against the clear window. I opened the balcony door, planning to coax her to fly to the familiar outside.
As I constantly talked in a soft and reassuring voice, I reached out to embrace the bird in my hands. Her terror gave her strength to fly from my grasp, only to crash against the ceiling and then a wall.
How I longed for this bird to know that I loved her and wanted her to be safe. I wanted her to live, to know freedom, to experience movement, to fly, to sing again outside my window. I enlisted the aid of the angels who protect the bird kingdom as I continued my monologue to my feathery visitor. Again I reached for her and succeeded in keeping her trembling, soft, velvety body in my hands. She let me carry her with hardly a flutter to the waiting balcony, where she could safely recover from her unexpected adventure.
That bird was not unlike so many of us when we are afraid. So often, we fight, squirm, protest, and resist the very thing or things that are in our highest good. We bump our heads and hurt ourselves, and fall into semi-consciousness. We are often wary or unaware of a higher power and gentle, loving hands.
In the moment my bird friend surrendered, she was safe and free.
And so are we.