In the summer of 1993, my husband and I were starting our usual morning routine. We lived in Rockwall, Texas about 32 miles from my husband’s work. My husband rolled out his motorcycle onto the driveway to prepare his usual day to day. I stood on the front walk talking to him as he readied himself and his bike with my eyes fixed on the grass in front of me surveying the ground. A split second before he started the engine, something jumped out from the spot of ground at which I had been staring. At first we both thought it was a mouse or rat, because there was nothing in the grass (I had been staring at it after all) and nothing flew from above. To this day neither of us can explain where he came from, but this little mourning dove with a broken wing had darted out from nowhere.
He had a large split in his right wing and began to run (or should I say hobble?) towards the road. I didn’t want him hurt further, so I began to try and herd him off the road. Then I noticed that the other side of the road had recently been brush hogged and the grass cut down to straw sized stalks. The last thing I wanted was to find this little bird dead down the road a couple of days later with his wing torn off, so I scooped him up into my hands and brought him back to the house. My husband now content that the bird was safe, he went to work.
With my boys being 3 and 1, they were both still asleep, so I went into the house and fashioned my new little friend a place to rest out of a box and half a lid with some towels to act as a makeshift nest. Then I began to wonder, “If I were this little bird, what would make me feel more at ease in these scary surroundings?” I had a large collection of Disney movies for the boys and I began to look through them searching for something to which my new little bird friend could relate. I decided that “We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story” was a good movie since it starts with a bird falling out of a nest and being rescued and told a story by a dinosaur. It was a good cartoon version of this little guy’s situation, after all, I must have seemed as big as a dinosaur to him. I put in the movie, gave the little bird some bird seed I kept on hand for the wild birds and we sat and watched the movie together. Him in his box theatre seat and me on the couch just amazed at this little creature that YHWH had thrown into my life.
When the boys woke up I spent the day teaching them how to care for this tiny creature and helping the little bird feel secure in his new surroundings. It amazed me how he could seem so trapped when his wings were by his side, like he was in handcuffs, but when he would spread them, even with the break, he seemed so free. When my husband returned home from work that night, we put the kids to bed and sat on the couch, my husband taking his turn at marveling at our new family member. We decided that since we found him before he was further injured, we gave him hope. Since his entrance into our lives was such a miracle for us and gave us hope, the most fitting name for him was indeed Hope. And so was he named.
He was such a brave little bird. We found out a little later that he was only about 2 months old when he became part of our family and when we got him a little female dove to be his companion and his nesting instincts kicked in, he was so brave. We would put down broom straws on the kitchen floor for him to build a nest (he never had a cage, but a basket hung by the ceiling in the kitchen entrance) he would peck at the feet of any human who dared to threaten his nesting site. He loved to ride in the truck on a basket hung from the clothes hook and loved to dance to music while perched on a finger. He stayed with us for 7 ½ years and then quite peacefully, during an ice storm in December of 2000, he slipped away, gone up to bird heaven I guess, but he will always hold a place in our hearts, for in the darkest times he would remind us always that there was Hope. We couldn’t deny it, he was right there flying around the house or perched on a shoulder. He was YHWH’s way of keeping us reminded that though you may not always see it, there is always Hope somewhere and Hope is always a gift to hold dear. So next time you have doubt, cast it aside because when all is said and done, though the wing may be broken, it will heal and Hope will fly into your heart and soul and change you in ways you can never foresee.