“There’s a bird somewhere in my house,” my mother’s voice trembled.I hung up the phone and my daughter and I went to see what could be done.My mother was terribly frightened at having a wild creature captive in her territory, and I believe the bird was just as scared as Mom.I admit I was a bit frightened myself. We entered the house tentatively and quickly located a young robin on top of a tall book case.The bird was very reluctant to accept our assistance.We talked to the frightened thing as though it were a lost puppy or a child.“Come on little bird.It’s OK.” We opened the sliding glass door so he could escape and then coaxed him to fly toward it, but he flew into the window, bumped his little noggin, and retreated immediately to his library perch.We convinced him to try again. This time he flew out the sliding glass door and onto the covered deck.For several minutes he wandered about, not flying, but walking, hiding under chairs and exercise equipment.Finally he took flight.As he spread his baby wings and headed enthusiastically into the blue sky and toward the lovely park across the street we were thrilled.
Being a support to someone struggling with addiction is much like being called into such a situation. Like the bird, the addict is terrified of the circumstance they have created, so terrified that their behavior becomes very threatening to those with whom they share their lives.
As we open the door to freedom and show them the way to it, those in dangerous captivity and full of fear do not fly free immediately.They often leave their deadly perch and dart about the room.Out of terror and misunderstanding and the desire to find their own way, they fly into painful barriers.Then, covered with bumps and bruises they retreat back.It takes lots of patience to help a frightened bird to freedom, and it takes a great deal of patience to help a person escape the confines of addiction. We cannot make them and we cannot take the flight for them.
The fear and frustration associated with this work is absolutely real, but so too is the joy of assisting in the cause of freedom.As we help the Lord “bring liberty to the captive” (Isaiah 61:1) our experience can harmonize with that of the Book of Mormon missionary Ammon who said:
And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some. (Alma 26:30)
It was beautiful to see the little bird take flight.Watching him rise on the fresh morning air against the backdrop of snow tipped June mountains, surrounded by blue forever sky took my breath away.But there is nothing more breathtaking than seeing a child of God grow weary of flying about in deadly captivity and finally head for the blue sky of recovery and the lush green safety of the Kingdom of God, where life and freedom and nourishment and fellowship are in endless supply.
By Nannette W. Posted Monday, July 11, 2011
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