Somewhere in the plains stands your basic neighborhood two story house. A wooden porch extends off the back. A vegetable garden here, a willow there in the corner where it floods now and again. There are baby rabbits, sometimes, in burrows beneath the trees. In spring, robins make their nest under the floor boards of that porch. We can see hatchlings through the slats, eyes like blister-bruises. Gaping their tiny freakish maws to the wriggly offerings brought by the labors of mother robin. A delightful spectacle. My house.
A woodpile is stacked against the porch. One year a robin builds her nest on the top of that stack. Perhaps I am four. This is the dawn of my memory. I climb that stack and look into that precious nest. Within, I behold the most darling sight in the age of my young eyes. Those exquisite eggs, perfect in roundness, in their hue of aqua blue, opaque and vivid. Creamy turquoise orbs that captivate the lingering gaze of admiration, even of a maybe four-year old. I am awash with adoration. I know that baby chicks come from within. I would have done everything for those chicks.
I know that chicks have to break out of their shell. Naturally I decide to help them. So tenderly I crack the perfect surface of those eggs. I had expected to see feathers or maybe the emergent beak of a grateful chick. Inexplicably, I see a tiny droplet of pale amber gel squeeze out of the tight crack. I stop. Clearly something is not right. It is, by now, too late. I discover they were not ready. I am out of place.
This is the moment my father finds me. Urgently, dismayed, he demands, what have I done to the eggs? Through rending sobs I explain my desire to aid those sweet hatchlings. His anger evaporates. He does not punish me. I continue to weep accompanied by the silent, fallen countenance of my father. I believe we mourned, together, the heartbreak of the robin eggs.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted,
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
“All a man’s ways seem right to him,
But the LORD weighs the heart.”
Even inspired by the warmest intentions [of one’s own design], one veers to disaster. God mourns with those filled with regret, offering His presence, as comfort in kind.
Little might we expect that reparations could be, would be, paid by innocence, ultimately, crushed. God have mercy. Kyrie eleison. Lord have mercy, indeed.
“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way, and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:4-6