One of my past roles was directing a week long sleep away camp for children grades 1 – 6, basically seven to twelve year olds. The counselors were mostly young adults with a few parents, teenagers and seniors added to the mix. Did I mention we were all volunteers? If you have ever worked or volunteered at camp, you know there are magical moments with an equal number of bang your head against the wall or a tree moments. At some point in the morning staff meeting, I would share Chippie’s story as an encouragement.
“CHIPPIE THE PARAKEET NEVER saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over. The problems began when Chippie’s owner decided to clean Chippie’s cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. The phone rang, and she turned to pick it up. She’d barely said ‘hello’ when ‘sssopp!’ Chippie got sucked in.
“The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag. There was Chippie– still alive, but stunned. Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do . . she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air.
“Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.
“A few days after the trauma, the reporter who’d initially written about the event contacted Chippie’s owner to see how the bird was recovering. ‘Well,’ she replied, ‘Chippie doesn’t sing much anymorc he just sits and stares.’
“It’s hard not to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over . . . that’s enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart.”
Many times the same camper that cried on the first day that they didn’t want to stay, cried on the last day they didn’t want to leave. Counselors were equally exhausted and blessed. The last day usually included a t-shirt signing party. My autograph was “Be there. Miss Ann.”
In our current state of affairs, I want to encourage you to be there for your family, friends and neighbors. Not physically there but there in the ways that really matter. Don’t lose your song. Each of us have a part play so don’t sit there stunned. A little pity partly is okay but then sing. You don’t have to sing a happy song you can sing a lament but sing. As a follower of Jesus, I am a believer in eternal life so I will also add when eternity comes “Be There.”
“Jesus asked, “Do you finally believe? But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:31-33 NLT