This week, we discovered a new type of bird in our yard, by the way that it chirped. It is a Northern Flicker, a bird that is in the woodpecker family. We have many types of birds that spend time in our yard, and make their presence known every morning. Its colors are bright, and nature like, and its chirp sounds loud, declarative and playful.
One evening, we heard the cry of an animal outside after dark, but couldn’t see what it was. When we went outside, one of our cats had a Northern Flicker on the ground. After chasing the cat away, we went to check on the bird. It was lying on the ground, appearing to not be able to fly. We tried to move it, by picking it up with the dustpan and broom to put it somewhere safely. Every time we attempted to move it, it screamed and cried. We felt so helpless, yet we knew that it was possibly hurt beyond our help. We decided to leave it there, and let nature run its course, whatever that may mean.
As I got ready to go inside, I looked closely at this little creature. Its tiny eyes were blinking every few seconds, and I could see its chest slowly moving up and down as it was breathing. It looked calm, on its back, wings tucked in. It looked peaceful.
The word that mostly came to me was Surrender.
The word surrender does not mean defeat, and it doesn’t even mean giving up, at least in my mind. Surrender, what I saw in this beautiful creature, meant a letting go. It meant acceptance. Accepting and honoring that we need do nothing, just let things unfold as they are intended.
I have a hard time with surrender. I still believe at times that the harder that I hang onto something, the more likely that I will be able to influence or dictate the outcome. That theory never works well for me, and in the process, I feel as far from peaceful as I can be. I feel anxious, edgy, and controlling when I hold onto something for dear life. I am scared and wanting things to be a certain way, focused on future or past.
However, when I let go, when I realize that there is nothing that I need to do in this moment, that all is well, I feel calm. I feel peaceful. I feel no fear, and have a deep understanding that things are just as they should be. That I don’t have to be the expert, or the fixer, or to take care of anything.
The other benefit for me in choosing surrender, is that I don’t then need to feel compelled to believe my way is the only way to view things, that I am the expert, that I am the one that knows what is best. When I let go, and am peaceful within, I can not only accept my situation, but more easily accept where others are at as well, without judgment or fear. I can just let others BE.
The morning after finding that bird, when we woke up we discovered that another creature in our yard had killed the bird, and its feathers were all over the yard. Remnants were here and there. Yet, after leaving it the night before, we never heard another sound. Like it was ready.
Like letting go was what took it to peace and freedom.