CREDOS : Precious lives — IV

The bird flew away and I thought nothing of the fact that it could have died. I felt much the same when the first bird hit the abbey’s cabin window. I’d just arrived and I was thinking about the many things I always think about. My thoughts seemed like, as I read on a bulletin board in the monastery a few days later to describe our frequent state of mind, bees trapped in a jar.

But days later when a second bird crashed and died, it was not just another event I could so easily ignore. My mind was clear and open enough to see that it was a big deal. I shuffled outside and mourned its passing. I gazed at the tiny dead bird, my head down in an attitude of prayer, as the wind ruffled its feathers.

The Gospels remind us that not one sparrow is forgotten in God’s sight. This one had not gone unnoticed by me either. I found a shovel leaning against the cabin, scooped up the sparrow, and gave it a proper sea burial: I flung it over the cliff, and down it went in a wingless arc into the white swells detonating on the boulders of the Canadian Shield below.

But that was not the end of it for me. I began to see again how removing myself from human contact like this, ironically, attunes me to the shared plight of humanity — and all of

existence, for that matter. There’s no other way to explain it other than that I feel a certain connection to the world that reminds me that I am not really alone in the ways all of us suffer in our lives. —