I was out on a run the other morning. Sun glistening through dew drenched branches. Penetrating chill working its way through my fingertips. Feet pounding in rhythm to the MP3 shuffle.
When death caught me. I hate the sensation that overwhelms you when faced with death. You feel shocked, scared, a little disgusted. My body jolted back without conscious choice. I stopped breathing. I shuddered. Although it wasn’t nasty or bloody or squished…it was just still. Still in the way a little bird is never still. Still in the most unnatural way.
I didn’t want it to be dead. I wanted her to be making those funny little chirping noises sparrows make at In-N-Out when they want part of your tasty bun. I wanted to see it flit up into a tree and tilt its head sideways in observation. I wanted it to be anywhere but in my path, underneath my feet. I didn’t want her to be fallen.
I wonder how God feels when a sparrow falls. He notices. But how much? To what degree? We humans feel things in degrees.
Not so much.
But he loves all of us with the same passionate love. Me. Hitler. Mother Teresa. Oprah.
And he loves little 2-for-a-farthing birds enough to notice when their life begins and ends.
I stood there frozen by the unnatural stillness. Wrapped in the edges of universal love, tangled in the anguish of the finite. How could I face death head on, dash around it and run on? Turn my face from pain, as I do every day, because it is too big, too massive, too beyond the reach of my own two arms? Continue my run because that is what there is to do?
Mortal frustration melted. Stomping ensued…along with a couple of tantrum circles. I wanted to scream aloud, “It sucks to not be omnipotent!” How can I possibly survive the pulse of an eternal heart trapped in the hades of the finite? How can I live every day completely failing to express all that is in my forever soul because I am confined by time and space? How can I see fallen sparrows all around and yet run right over them because there is something waiting for me that needs my attention? Some other task, some other obligation, some other calling.
And the rush of all things I have noticed in my lifetime and done nothing about flooded me. Tears washed bitterly as I indeed ran on. Running away from death. From the sparrow. From the fall.
I have a hard time being fallen. A hard time trying to emulate someone who is ubiquitous and omniscient, who can be everywhere and feel everything at all times. Yet that is the bursting need of my heart, the wish of my soul, the cry of my spirit. The capacity to have all that I feel for situations, places, people be known and felt by others. To enact change and inspire revolution. To breathe the breath of life.
It’s hard to be fallen. Hard to be finite. Hard to hold a heavenly wish in earthly flesh.
Hard to let God be God and me be me.