I am writing this with permission from my husband today, as it is his story not mine. It impacted me and so I offer it to you.
As we sat for dinner yesterday, Herb said he wanted to share an experience from his day. As he was leaving work to come home, he came upon a bird that seemed to be injured. Catching his attention while in route to his car, he paused to consider if or how he could help. He sensed that the bird was likely in pain. His mind quickly ran through options and questions. Should I pick him up to place him elsewhere or perhaps take him to the vet? Or would picking him up actually inflict more pain? And looking at the time, should I really get home to my girls and family? He chose the latter, but on his drive home he was reminded of an experience from his childhood.
Quite similarly, one day he came across a bird that was injured. At an age where inhibitions were low, without forethought, he immediately picked the bird up and brought it home. He created a place of rest out of a cardboard box and then asked his mom to make oatmeal, which he would later attempt to feed the bird. As he shared this, his eyes became pensive and soft. He reflected and wondered, had he in some way separated from that heartfelt spirit that once came so easily as a young boy.
As children we are more tied to our hearts and closer to spirit than we are as adults. I don’t say this to make myself or anyone feel bad, only to acknowledge the truth of our human experience. In hearing Herb’s story and his reflection, what spoke to me was that despite the choices he made at different times in his life, his heart, in fact, was still open and quite tender. Even with a routine that is quite full and long, he had the space to recognize and witness the experience, and in this case the suffering, of another sentient being. Perhaps, there are moments where we more readily follow the heart’s call and other times where the heart’s calling cooperates with the realities of life. Regardless, having the space and willingness to be touched by those around us, all living breathing beings, allows our hearts to remain soft and open, and the tenderness carries forward. It inevitably benefits the way we meet ourselves and the world.
Herb’s experience reminded me to continue to keep the pace of my days slow enough so that I can savor and experience all of life, around and within, more fully.
Thank you Herb for sharing your story and your heart.
We don’t set out to save the world; we set to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people’s hearts.