Once there was a sweet little old lady that had just lost her husband of 50 years. They both were school teachers in the local district, he taught P.E. and she was music teacher. Her children were spread far and wide across the country, so they never seemed to have enough time for old mom. One day she decided to visit the pet store to buy a companion. As she entered the store she saw puppies scampering around, and kittens playfully jumping. She walked past the gold fish floating lazily in their tanks, until finally she heard the most beautiful music she had heard in years. It was the melodious singing of a little white parakeet. This little bird sang and danced so cheerfully in it’s cage that she laughed out loud. She knew right then that she had found her companion. She scooped up the cage, and all the bird accessories and hurried home with her new friend. The bird sang all the way home, so much so that she decided to name him “Chirpy”.
Years passed and the lady and the bird became the best of friends. He seemed to fill the void of loneliness left in her life. She spoiled the birdie to death, constantly buying new toys, mirrors, exotic foods and cages. It was a true love affair between her and the bird. All of her children where happy because whenever they would visit, “Chirpy” would sing even more and they had not seen their mother so happy in years.
One year at Thanksgiving the little old lady decided to clean house before everyone arrived for dinner. The entire family was excited to be together for this holiday, and “Chirpy” would grace them with a concert. As she vacuumed, she saw that there were some feathers in the bottom of the bird cage. So she put the tube attachment on the vacuum as she had done hundreds of times before… As she began to vacuum the bird cage, the phone rang; she hurriedly reached for the phone thinking only about her children arriving in town and as she did she her a terrible sound “shump“. Chirpy had been sucked into the vacuum tube! In a panic she screamed into the phone, “Oh my God I just killed my little Chirpy!” She ran to the kitchen to get a knife… She unzipped the vacuum to get to the bag and stabbed the bag with the knife hoping to rescue Chirpy. To her amazement, the little white parakeet bounced from the pile of dust alive and well, just filthy. She was so happy to see her little friend alive that she wanted to clean him up, so she scooped up the little bird, and ran to the sink. She put a little Dawn detergent in her hands and put the little bird under the warm water for a bath. Oh how excited she was when she saw that Chirpy was white again, but now soaking wet. So she ran to get the blow dryer, and held the little bird under the warm air to dry his feathers before everyone arrived for the holiday dinner.
Amazingly Chirpy looked just fine as she placed the little bird back into its’ clean cage. She could not wait to tell the story over dinner about her little winged survivor. Her children and grandchildren began arriving and soon the house was a buzz with activity. They all assembled around the dinner table with smiles and Thanksgiving in their hearts. As the oldest boy prepared to pray, he noticed a strange quiet in the house. Chirpy was not singing; the little bird was just standing in the cage looking at the wall. He asked his mother what was wrong with Chirpy?
The old lady sat back and thought for a minute about the little birds’ traumatic day. Then she finally replied with tears in her eyes, “well I guess I just sucked the life out of him, and tried to clean him up like it had not happened, and hung him out to dry.” Chirpy was alright, but sadly never sang again…
Team AO, are we allowing a bad day, month, year, or situation to suck the life out of us? Or are we learning to overcome challenges and sing anyway?
Are we sucking the life out of people or ourselves with a bad attitude, and selfishly pretending that it did not happen, and foolishly hanging others or ourselves out to dry? Or are we building people up and repairing damaged relationships, and putting the needs of others first?