Baby Birds

Those that have power to hurt, and will do none…

…they do rightly inherit heaven’s graces.

 

When I was very little, my mother let me hold a baby bird.

The bird was small, naked, afraid, and helpless in practically every way.

I held it so gently, so carefully.

I didn’t want to hurt it.

But then, for just a moment, I thought, “I could”.

Not necessarily that I wanted to. But I could.

I had the power, the ability, to hurt this tiny bird.

I could.

And this tiny realization, led to a further inquiry, “would I?”

 

Would I hurt this baby bird? Just because I could?

 

I have hurt many people in my life just because I could.

Because I was young, stupid, naive, afraid…

I have hurt my sister.

I have hurt my friends.

I have hurt my mother.

Because I could. Because it didn’t matter. Because I didn’t think about how it would feel to be the one cradled in rough hands that wondered “would I?”

 

This is what I am afraid of in them.

They are good people. They are kind men. They are gentle, fair, empathetic, and unfailingly supportive friends.

But they could.

I am the baby bird in their hands. Simply through the circumstances of my birth, they have the upper hand and the lower hand, both clasped around me, cradling, rocking, suppressing, trapping.

They are good people. But when placed in a position of power…being good is not always easy.

I am not afraid of the wicked men that come from the shadows and the chance encounters and the statistical certainties.

I am afraid of the kind, benevolent and sympathetic men whom I share my life with every day. Because no one is perfect. Because humanity is flawed. Because power dynamics are something that is easy to forget when the scale has shifted towards you.

So my question is,

despite being a good person, despite knowing right from wrong, despite loving me…

Because you could,

Would you?

 

For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;

lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.

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