Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Way Doodle Came Home

As I stated in a former post, we had a sad three days last week when our Doodle bird--a.k.a. Noname  /no-nah-mee/--escaped. She initially flew away Monday afternoon around 4:00, then we found her(thanks to the amazingly good eyesight of two of our older neighbors!), but she had to spend the night 40 feet up our neighbor's tree because she wouldn't even try to fly down to us and would only "talk" to us from her unreachable perch. Tuesday morning she was still there for a couple of hours, but she finally decided to try to fly to us, only to lose her bearings once she took to the air. She landed in another tree in our neighbor's yard, this time at least 60 feet up.
The pine tree in the center is Noname's second perch--Tuesday.

 We spent the afternoon having school under the tree, eating all Doodle's favorite people-snacks, and talking to her in hopes she would fly down. However, it looked hopeless, as if she wanted to but somehow couldn't figure out HOW TO fly down. We decided to try to hang her cage up high so maybe she would see and go to it and be retrievable...

In the attempts to throw a rope to hoist her cage up near where she was sitting, she apparently was frightened and flew again--we were overjoyed, just KNOWING we would get her home that night--but instead of flying DOWN to us, she again gained altitude and flew away. We ran after, calling and looking, but there was no sign of her. The woods grew dark quickly, and even the sighting of an indigo bunting and several odd bugs and plants weren't enough to take the edge off our sadness.  The kids and I all cried ourselves to sleep that night. It really seemed hopeless.

Wednesday morning was somber. Everyone was up and quietly mopey. I was probably the most emotional of all of us that morning, at the thought that she was really gone--the hardest thing for me was not missing the bird herself, but missing her for the children. She and J have such a special bond, and I can't stand it when my kids are hurting, like any good mama. :) I also kept having to reign in my imagination about what could happen to her, or what she could be thinking out there all by herself--did she really know how badly we wanted her home? Was she scared? Had she been attacked by a hawk?  Was she finding any water?

I had walked outside at about ten o'clock to give fresh water to the chickens and I was talking to them in my sing-song "bird" voice when I heard a familiar whistle from--OUR BACKYARD. Oh my goodness! It was Doodle! She had apparently followed the sound of our parakeets who stay on the back porch during the day, and she was at least 75 feet up in a pine tree, but we figured if she had been smart enough to fly that far toward home, she would figure out how to get down that day.
Later in the afternoon she tried to fly to J and was gone again. The girls walked through the back pasture to find her and thought they had spotted her whereabouts, but they only thought they heard her, as they couldn't see her and her favorite call sounds quite a bit like a mockingbird song.
Last stand of trees where they thought they heard her Wednesday.

We went to bed again with heavy hearts that night.

Thursday morning we awoke to the noise of wind in the trees, and the stress was tangible. We were all exhausted, physically and emotionally. Tired of crying, tired of worrying about her, tired of trying to find her only to be disappointed in not being able to help her down. She would "speak" to us and look at us as if asking, "Okay, are we finished playing this silly game now so you can COME GET ME DOWN FROM HERE?" It was a terrible, helpless feeling.

After looking at the weather report and seeing we were due rain and possible thunderstorms Thursday night, I knew in my heart that if we weren't successful in getting her home THAT DAY, it would likely be over. We looked more. The girls and I walked around and called--no answer.  We kept calling off and on throughout the day, and late in the afternoon, around 6:00, we HEARD her again, this time behind our neighbor's house on OUR side of the road.

B and J had to leave for her choir audition, so C and I stationed the Redhead on the back porch calling "Dooo-dlllllle" every count of 40, as she would answer to her name for some reason then. It had grown quiet outside since the weather front was moving through, as if all the wild birds had settled in early for the night. However, a pair of bluejays were raising a true ruckus behind our neighbor's house, so we followed their noise. Being territorial as they are, I guessed that a strange bird was in a tree near theirs. I was right.  We finally found her perched in a young growth sawtooth oak only about 20 feet off the ground, and I left C standing there quietly(we didn't want to make the mistake of getting her excited enough to fly and risk losing her again). I ran home to grab our ladder.

After hauling the ladder across two lots and leaning it against the tree, we realized there was no way C could reach the lowest branch from the top, so we would have to do something else. Then our neighbors, in whose yard the tree is--began walking out to see what in the world these crazy people were doing with a ladder up their tree(lol!). They had guessed we had lost a pet, and he went to get HIS ladder, which reached the lower branch perfectly. C put her fear of heights aside, shimmied up the ladder, belly-crawled out on a limb just about five feet lower than Doodle's perch, and began talking to her.
Noname is in the exact center of this picture, on her way down to see C. BRAVE GIRL!

That was one happy, determined, relieved little cockatiel! After a couple of questioning "peeps?" she immediately began climbing her way toward C, jumped up on her shoulder, and clung tightly as C backed down the tree. As soon as she reached the ground C put a hand over Doodle and ran back to the house with her while I stayed to thank the neighbors for their help.
Come to find out, they once had a cockatiel, so they understood how sad we were at the thought of losing her. They did NOT think we were crazy for attempting to climb neighbors' trees! ;) They were, in fact, rejoicing with us in finding her!

I walked home with our ladder, came inside, and fifteen minutes later the rain began. God is GOOD.

Doodle chowed down on seed, drank some water, and went to bed. She slept and slept and was almost herself again Friday. Saturday we were finally assured she would be okay, as she took up her normal routine of fluffing and preening, and we happily took to cleaning up after her again.
A hungry, hungry birdie!

Doodle is obviously happy to be home, and we learned yet another important lesson about treasuring those we love, even the ones with feathers. Each moment is special!

And even though it was an emotionally draining and physically taxing week, a week when the housework just did NOT get done and meals really didn't get cooked, it was a time of real unity and closeness with my kids. Sometimes we just fall into the rut of "living here" and forget that these people are pretty special. They are all such gifts, and even if Noname hadn't come home, the Lord used the effort of searching for her to knit our hearts a little more tightly to each other.

My kids also learned that the Lord answers prayers--big ones and little ones. When Jesus said the Father knows even if a sparrow falls, they know now that IT IS TRUE. When Jesus said that the heavenly Father feeds them, though they do not plant or gather into barns, my girls now understand just how detailed is His watch care over even the birds of the air.

We have always taught them that Man(as in mankind, not as in just the specific gender!)is the crowning point of God's creation, and that people were put on earth to enjoy it and to have a personal relationship with God, but that Scripture also teaches that we were given the job to watch over God's creation and care for it. However, the results are ultimately up to  Him who holds all things together--who formed all things in the first place--by His mighty Word. We are all the works of His hand. It is so sweet to trust in Jesus, as the old hymn says:

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His word,
Just to rest upon the promise,
Just to know, "Thus saith the Lord."

Over the weekend at separate times, both of the older girls came to me and said, "Mom, I think I understand the story of The Lost Sheep a lot better now." I smiled as I agreed with them--do you know the story? Jesus told this story in the gospel of Luke, chapter 15:

 4If any of you has a hundred sheep, and one of them gets lost, what will you do? Won't you leave the ninety-nine in the field and go look for the lost sheep until you find it? 5And when you find it, you will be so glad that you will put it on your shoulder 6and carry it home. Then you will call in your friends and neighbors and say, "Let's celebrate! I've found my lost sheep."
    7Jesus said, "In the same way there is more happiness in heaven because of one sinner who turns to God than over ninety-nine good people who don't need to."

The similarities are striking--we have a whole little flock of birds, but when one wandered off, we left the other five and went to look for the lost one till she was found.  Doodle couldn't help herself; her efforts to get to us ultimately only took her further away from home and safety. When she humbly allowed us to approach her, C placed her on her shoulder(smile)and carried her home--and now I'm rejoicing with YOU, my friends, over this little lost birdie who is now found...
She's a snuggle baby!

I cannot think that it's just a sweet story, friends. Jesus was making a point. You see, each of us--woman or man, child or adult--are born into this world already little lost lambs--we have no good in us because of the sin nature passed down to us by our first parents, Adam and Eve. We need to be rescued from the wilderness of seeking our own desires, our own paths, our own understanding; in fact, because of our own limited understanding, we don't even know what we need! In loving goodness, then, Jesus the Good Shepherd came to earth, fully God and fully man, lived a perfect life, free of all evil deeds, motives, or thoughts, and then allowed Himself to be sacrificed in a brutal death so that HE could take on all of the evil EVER in the world, in order that God--the loving, just, righteous, holy Creator of everything--could forgive the sins of mankind and restore individuals into a right, loving relationship with Himself.

We receive the gift of this relationship when we come to Him, admitting we've sought things our way, and believing that He will forgive our sins as He said:

 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  (1 John 1, verses 8-9, NIV)

From Luke 15 again, at the end of the story of the prodigal son, we see the heart of God the Father, rejoicing over the restoration of his son:
But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. (Luke 15, verse 32, NIV)

The words of Isaac Watts--
Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found.
Was blind, but now I see.

Thru many dangers toils and snares
I have already come
Twas grace that brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.

Dear friend, I can think of no more important question for YOU--
have you allowed His grace to lead YOU home?

I pray for you that it is so.



danielle @ RLR said...

Awwwww...I'm SO happy there was a happy ending!


Michelle said...

Wow, what a journey! That is such a sweet story, and I'm so glad he made it home.