I carefully glide mascara on my lashes when her shriek smacks into my ears.
I drop the mascara brush and run towards the panicked noise. I call in a shaky voice,
“What? What? What is it?!”
She runs from her room, hair flying after her.
“Mama!” She sobs and gulps. “It’s Pip. She’s…she’s…she’s lying at the bottom of her cage!”
I move around the corner as my eyes hone in on the birdcage. Sure enough, Pip the parakeet lays motionless, her bright yellow back facing us.
Pip belonged to Faith. Pip’s birdcage even resided in Faith’s room, and Faith took wonderful care of her. A Christmas gift two short years ago, Pip spent countless hours chirping while Faith read books, made jewelry, sang songs, and engaged in a hundred other endeavors in her room. According to Faith, Pip also had “amazing taste in fashion” and helped her pick out her clothes.
To sum it all up, Faith and Pip spent a whole lotta time together, Faith adored the little bird, and Pip’s death devastated her.
Although she died weeks ago, Faith still cries over it like it was yesterday. Today, I’m tempted to get short with her, to tell her to pick herself up by her knockoff Ugg boots and move on. But I remember we all handle grief on our own time table, and I don’t want to discourage that same tender heart that makes her a thoughtful daughter to our family or the kindest friend to her peers.
Watching Faith mourn for her little bird, I glimpse how important we are to our Creator. As His image-bearers, we carry personality traits that don’t surprise Him. If we can feel deeply for little parakeets, how much more does He feel deeply for us?
When I face loss – big and small – and the mourning hangs on, I sometimes imagine God tapping His foot, telling me to get over it already. Heaven knows I say these words to myself. But He doesn’t. Loss is one way Love is made visible, and God does not trivialize our pain or set expiration dates on our mourning. Yes, there is a time for everything, a time to mourn and a time to dance. But in the transition from one to the other, God is patient.
May the same be said of me.