We all know, and ought to be thoughtful of the walking wounded. The people who have been kicked in the chops by life. We may have been one ourselves, or still are. Life is just plain bumpy. Sometimes we recover; other times we find a new normal; but what a pity it is when we get stuck.
Nature is one of those God-givens that helps you find a different approach to thinking about life. A couple of summers ago, it looked like a life would be claimed by adversity. It seems like no matter your size there is always something that could eat you alive.
You may understand the love of wild birds and finding ways to help them thrive. We had one of our birds show up at the feeder badly damaged. The Spotted Towhee was dragging his right foot- with it stretched out far behind him. He could barely balance. He’d find a way to lean up against the edge of the feeder and make a tripod with his tail and one remaining unsteady standing leg. The feathers on his wings were pointed all directions and flight was quite labored.
Over the summer his standing leg got stronger with his tail getting stubbier and scrubbier as he used it to prop himself up. New feathers came in before fall hit, though his foot still dragged uselessly behind him- like he was doing a poorly executed arabesque- he was stronger.
We worried about him last winter. Whatever tried to chew him up that summer left him quite damaged to make it through the winter. But you know, as cold wet winter pressed on, the little feathered trooper hung in there. He learned to pull his foot under himself. And though his foot rarely ever took a normal bird foot posture, it did act like a stump with his toes pointed back.
He made it through last winter, and the seasons that followed.
He went from waiting until the feeder was clear to eat and taking off when new parents brought their fledglings in, to being more bold and brave. He and the other birds have come to an understanding and now they allow him to finish eating. We are in his second winter here; he’s alive, confident and holding his own! He’s got a new normal but he’s still a bird who can take wing.
And as a parent, when it’s you? You put on your game face for your kids so they don’t bear much worry as you make sense of those bumps. When it’s your kid getting bounced around? It’s much harder. Life can get mean, and when you’re wounded, it’s a given that a few more hardships will be piled on just to ramp up the strugglings. No one wants that for their beloveds.
I watched my daughter recover from a surgery this summer. It was a hard surgery, hard recovery and a game changer. Summer days shouldn’t be dark days, but it was a very dark summer for her. She’d tell you it was just her and God. I didn’t have a bandage for this hurt. You want your children to grow up and be adults who can thrive in a dog-eat-dog world- thrive in a way that they are still people with integrity, heart and perseverance…. So sometimes we’re not walking wounded- we have learned to fly instead….wounded. Yet, we fly.