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Prompted By Forgiveness

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J was my husband’s college roommate and the two have been very close since then.   In fact J and his wife K are among our closest friends –  we’ve shared vacation homes,  travelled abroad together,  traditionally spend New Year’s Eve as a foursome,  and are always there to share each others’ joys and sorrows.

Yet although I love J,   he once did something  I found hard to forgive.

It was many summers ago and we were spending the weekend at J and K’s house in the country.   It was a glorious morning and we brought our coffee cups out to the porch when I noticed a small birds nest in the eaves.

”How sweet!,“  I said to J,  pointing up at the nest.

“Their droppings on the porch aren’t so sweet.”,  he grumbled,  “That nest is a damn nuisance and I’ve been meaning to get rid of it.”

And with that he went to get the garden hose,  aimed it up at the eaves,  and soon the nest came tumbling down.   As I watched in dismay I saw two tiny fledglings falling with it,  the force of the water sending them far out on the lawn.

“How could you!”,   I demanded of J,  bursting into tears.   I grabbed my coffee cup and marched back into the house,  slamming the door behind me.

Later that morning we drove into town to have lunch at a lovely country inn.  I was still smarting over the birds nest,  and J sensed it.  He asked for my forgiveness and,  a bit begrudgingly,  I lifted my wine glass and forgave him.

After lunch we lingered in town,  and when we got back home the lawn was in late afternoon shadow.  As we walked toward the house I thought I saw something moving in the grass and curious,  I approached.

There lay one of the fallen birds, helplessly fluttering it’s wings.   And then I saw the mother bird swoop down and,  as I watched awe-struck,  she hovered for seconds,  and dropped a precious morsel in a tiny open peak.  She then flew off,  certainly to return again and again.

How many times was that life-and-death struggle reenacted on that small patch of ground?   How many times.  I wondered,  while oblivious we lunched in town,  looked at dusty antiques and paintings by local artists,  and stopped at the farm stand for sweet corn and perfect tomatoes.

Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!
www.WorldThruBrownEyes.com

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Tags: Birds
Characterizations: moving

Comments

  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Heartbreaking, Dana. I understand that the friendship must continue, but hard to forgive that incident of cruelty, even if he didn’t like the bird droppings.

  2. Laurie Levy says:

    Your story really moved me, Dana. My daughter had a robin’s nest in a corner of her front porch and photographed the progress until the fledglings left the nest. This being pandemic times, we all had plenty of time to become engrossed in the journey from eggs to exit. So your photo grabbed me and I understand your outrage. It is also an important distinction that you can forgive and yet not forget. I know I have done that many times.

  3. Oh, Dee…I’m not sure I could have forgiven this, and I might not have wanted to try. When it comes to kids and critters, it’s harder than ever to find forgiveness. Thankfully we can choose not to forget, but if we hold onto that, have we truly forgiven?

    Thanks for adding such a wrenching story to our conundrum! And for choosing to end it on such a beautiful, thoughtful note.

  4. Suzy says:

    Dana, as others have said, this cruelty seems unforgiveable. You had already forgiven him at lunch, but didn’t you get mad all over again when you came back and saw the poor little fledgling on the grass? And the other one unaccounted for? I’m not suggesting you reopen old wounds now, but still, pretty hard to forgive OR forget.

    • Yes Suzy, I did get emotional again seeing that helpless and I assume wounded little bird, and remembering it now am angry at my friend all over again altho it was about a dozen years ago!

      I guess I’ll never forget what he did that day, but we have remained good friends, and after all I’ve surely been cruel at times too – but never towards animals!

  5. Marian says:

    A memorable and very painful incident, Dana, and I am so impressed that you were able to forgive your friend. It moved me just to read about it, let alone experience it, especially when the poor fledgling was being fed on the ground.

  6. Risa Nye says:

    Wow, it must have been tough to relive this by writing about it! I was as shocked as you were when he grabbed that hose…thanks for sharing this experience.

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