It never started out as a plan, or even as a dream. It was simply an idea. Perhaps that’s where all dreams start.
He had kept birds since he was knee-high to a pelican’s leg; and all his life he had understood them and they, him. It was probably a love affair, if that isn’t being too weird. Like most of humanity, he wasn’t the greatest of souls, or even the worst. He just did what was required.
We all land on this life with handicaps of one sort or another, some of us throw the dice right away, and others wait a lifetime to throw a six. Some never even get to start the game. It is always in someone else’s hands – or so it seems.
The one thing he couldn’t understand was bullying. Not that he was comfortable with wars either. But there was nothing to be gained by bullying a child, or an adult, or a teacher, or doctor or whomever; it probably just made the bully feel better – but at what a cost? It was all too expensive and tragic.
His brother had taken his own life when he was only 9 years of age – he had been a boy who had never been able to speak properly since he had been hit by a car. This had caused the great and the good in his brother’s class at school, to make their miserable little lives seem better by picking on a kid with a speech impediment. Bullies were, and are, cowards. That has been true since the start of time.
When he got his first bird, he named it Jethro, after his little brother who had flown off to be in a better place. The boy always watched out for the weak, who were picked on by the big brave bullies. He would intervene when he could, and sometimes folks would ask him to help on their behalf. It isn’t hard to punish a bully, for they are without doubt the lowest form of life. That was what he thought anyway.
It soon became known that the boy who stopped bullying liked to keep birds, and each of the children (and adults) who he had helped started to bring him birds as a thank you.
A small cage became a larger one, and then it was soon the size of a room. Within a year he had built an aviary to keep the hundreds of birds that reflected all those people he had helped. Hundreds of souls thankful for a heart that stood up to bullies.
The trouble was, there was an endless supply of bullies and an even bigger number of victims. He spent so long on other peoples’ problems, that he forgot the golden rule, and that was to make sure he was okay himself. He never once thought about himself.
The day his heart stopped, was the day he got his first and final rest. That was when it happened – all the birds, representing all the souls he had healed along the way, picked the man up (for he was no longer a boy) and flew him off to where he could have the big sleep.
Okay, there were still bullies around after he had gone, but more and more people began to find strength in what he had done, and they stood up for themselves, and each other against the cowards.
And as for our friend? Well he was flown to be with Jethro once more.
bobby stevenson 2017