Finding comfort in a bird’s nest

Published 7:30 am Saturday, June 4, 2022

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One beautiful spring day my daddy and I stood in a small workshop he was building behind his garage. The workshop and a radial saw he had just purchased were the fulfillment of a long time dream. He had reached that time, his retirement, and he was already enjoying it.

After he showed me the windows he had just installed and told me he was going to have a concrete floor poured, he motioned for me to step close to the wall. He pointed to a potty chair hanging in the rafters that had been left by some former tenants of my parent’s basement apartment.

Daddy tenderly lifted the dusty little chair and showed me several baby birds nestled inside a cozy nest. Then, just as carefully as he had taken the potty chair away, he replaced it on the rafters. He said the tiny birds were wrens and the mother bird found her way inside before he sealed the rafters and found herself a nesting spot and laid the eggs. “She brings food to the babies all day long. You might see her, she’ll probably be slipping in any time now,” he said.

”You mean she built the nest while you were hammering and sawing and installing the wiring?” I asked.

‘That’s right,” he said. “She would fly right by my head with bits of paper and straw and other debris she had gathered to build the nest.”

I stepped in Daddy’s workshop alone months after we had chatted that day. My heart was heavy. Tears filled my eyes. Tools and scraps of lumber were scattered about, just as Daddy had left them. The workshop was unfinished. Daddy was gone. I looked up to where the wren had built her nest. I found comfort in those moments, just as I had when God gave me the strength to watch Daddy fight an unconquerable illness.

A month or so after Daddy died, a man knocked on my parent’s door, asking to speak to Daddy. He said he had heard he was sick and just wanted to drop by to see how he was getting along. When my mother told him Daddy had passed away, tears streamed down his face. He walked away wiping his eyes with a handkerchief and sobbing. We did not know him, but we were pretty sure Daddy had helped him in some way or said something that touched him deeply.

That little wren had known on an instinct what I had known and lived with all my life. My daddy was a kind and gentle man.