The Box

Carton_Box_2A while back while on retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani near Bardstown, KY. (http://www.monks.org/).  Outside the window there was a small cardboard box. A few days earlier while I was sitting in the garden, I noticed the box tucked inconspicuously in the shade of an old wooden bench. When I checked it out, I discovered that it is the temporary home to an injured Robin. Several times a day a young man, that is a giant of a guy, about 6’6” and chiseled like a granite rock, goes out and tends to the bird. He gently cradles it in his massive hands as he lifts it to eat from a feeder suspended from a majestic oak tree.  Then he opens his hands to give the bird a chance to fly. In the evening, just before dark, the man takes the box and the bird to the safety of his room for the night.  Each day I see the man run several miles in sweltering 95 degree heat. I suspect that he may be a former college basketball player.

Whenever I come here there are around 40 other visitors of every size, shape and description.  Since our retreats are supposed to be spent in silence, I seldom learn anything about the others. Past my observations I know nothing about the “bird man” except that, despite his massive size, he apparently has a gentle spirit. Again, God gave me another much needed reminder to not base my opinions on people’s exteriors. Based strictly on appearance, he is the very last person that I would have thought would be the foster father of a bird.

There is another man here who is wearing a gigantic wooden cross hanging from an over-sized neck chain. Everywhere he goes he carries a large Bible and a stack of religious books. He also seems to have a difficult time keeping his mouth shut. Again, based on appearance, he is the last person that I would expect to be breaking the rules.  I wonder what folks are seeing in me?

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