I have a fine feathered friend. When I break out the lawnmower and plow through the yard, there is a robin that hops around and follows me. He comes ridiculously close and is not a bit intimidated by the noise or the exhaust fumes.
When I move from the back to the front yard he follows. He flits away when I finish, but then he shows up promptly the next week when the rope pulls the engine to life again. Thus far it’s been six weeks in a row.
He makes me feel special – like Snow White when the birds helped her clean up the dwarf house.
The question is why? Does he like the buzz he gets from the exhaust? Or maybe he has a proclivity to my sweaty obesity or maybe mister redbreast knows that I used to have red hair.
Well a little bird told me that robins largely prefer to dine on earthworms. The worms evidently get aggravated when I mow the lawn. They come out and ask, “Hey what’s all that racket?”
Plus, I found a scholarly paper called EFFECTS OF GRASS LENGTH AND MOWING ON
FORAGING BEHAVIOR OF THE AMERICAN ROBIN (TURDUS MIGRATORIUS). (This is legit – no joke) The researcher found that robins overwhelmingly prefer shorter rather than longer lawns. Well who doesn’t?
So, when I cut the grass, the yard becomes the Golden Corral of the robin hood.
I guess you could say that the robin shows up each week because worms of goodness and mercy follow me whenever I mow the lawn (unless you look at it from the perspective of the worms.)
I do love that phrase in Psalm 23, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…” It suggests to me that the wake we Christians leave, as we pass through this life, should be a blessing and benefit to others – leaving good things behind and merciful deeds as a legacy.
There is someone with whom I work that seems to understand this. Even better – she lives it. Stacy is a nurse who has made it her mission to care for the needs of those in hospice care.
Now hospice is a tough gig. The purpose is to provide comfort and care to terminally ill people. There is never a happy ending. But Stacy is deeply motivated to do this out of compassion and her faith in Jesus.
Just recently she and I made a simultaneous visit to a sweet frail octogenarian we’ll call Rosa. It was inspiring to see Stacy in action again. She brought with her a cheerful outlook. Her words and the tone of her voice transformed the gloom in the room.
She listened to Rosa’s heart with a stethoscope, but she was also attuned to her heart break as Rosa spoke of her sadness. It is not unusual for Stacy to weep with her patients.
Stacy had a busy day ahead of her, but she was not rushed. Rosa was treated like a person and not an appointment.
She often holds the hands of her patients and prays for them, but she deferred to me as the chaplain this time.
After the blood pressure cuff and thermometer were stowed, Stacy lay down on the floor near Rosa’s wheelchair and gleefully painted her toenails. (I don’t think Medicare covers that)
As she left, I heard her say with a sweetness to her voice, “I love you Rosa.” Rosa said, “I love you too.” They both meant it.
Stacy’s patients are enveloped in the wake of the goodness and mercy she leaves behind her.
They know it and cherish it. Often their eyes are lifted to the Savior that energizes this nurse.
Now did you know that every hospice agency has a coordinator who arranges for volunteers to do things read books, play games, clean house, run errands and more for needful patients. You could do it too! If you live in East Texas, I would be delighted to get you connected! Contact me. If you live elsewhere, check out an agency nearby.
I probably should say that Stacy is only one of several amazing nurses with whom I work. There are also wonderful aides, social workers and many others including we chaplains who handle our work with care and compassion. (PS: Except I don’t do toenails).