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Message from a Bird

April 13, 2016 | by Hadassah Tov

Was God even listening to me?

Walking in Manhattan during my lunch break, I was weighed down by my troubles. Lately, I was just seeing the glass as empty. And broken. My singleness, not fitting in at my job, my rejections, my loneliness, my hopelessness, my aimlessness... I dragged my feet with each step. Every breath was a heavy sigh. I reached for my phone to call my usual confidants, but no one answered.

So this was it. It was just me and God.

With tears filling the corners of my eyes, I confronted Him in my heart. "What do You want from me? I’m trying to work on myself. I’m trying to pray every day. Where is all this heading? Are You even listening to me?! Answer me, PLEASE!!"

As I walked, I was numb to the fresh air, to the blue sky. Deaf and blind to the rushing pedestrians around me and the steady din of traffic. I neared the corner and the man walking in front of me sidestepped sharply to avoid crushing an object on the sidewalk. It looked like a dead bird. I shuddered and avoided it too.

As I walked past, my neck turned and I caught a second look. I’d never seen a bird like it before, and definitely not in midtown Manhattan. About the size of a sparrow, it had brown and white speckled wings with a little feathery tuft of red on its head.

The bird blinked. So it wasn’t dead. It must have been injured since it sat calmly on the sidewalk as feet rushed past it. Not typical bird behavior.

I didn’t know if God was trying to tell me something, but I heard no message. I felt a pang of sympathy for the beautiful bird who was lost and possibly hurting, but I couldn’t bring a wounded animal back to the office. With conflicted feelings, I crossed Lexington Avenue.

While waiting on the corner for the light to change, I turned to the right and saw something whiz through the air. It was that bird! It landed on the post of a street sign. As I crossed 35th Street, I felt a pull to cross back over the avenue and take a closer look. The New Yorker in me wanted to keep walking to my destination, but my feet carried me toward the sign.

I approached and saw that the bird was tightly gripping the post of a No Standing sign. I looked it in the eye and it gazed back at me. The wind ruffled its feathers, but it still held on tight. A jackhammer rumbled close by, but the bird showed no sign of being disturbed. I looked around. Did anyone else notice this crazy bird that must have taken a wrong turn from somewhere upstate? It was the picture of tranquility and steady determination in gripping that post.

I wanted to keep on moving, but I felt that God was somehow waiting for me to hear Him on this street corner. So I listened. And as the breeze whispered gently across my face, I heard: “Even though you’re injured and hurting, and you don’t fit in here, just hold on. Hold on to Me tight. Don’t let go, no matter what happens, and I’ll always hold you up.”

The realization that God was there to support me when I leaned on Him hit me hard. I left the No Standing sign behind me and walked on with a renewed spirit, leaving the bird at the corner, with no signs of letting go.

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