Yes, the title is shocking, but it is true. Last year, I took a precious life. I have suffered for it every day since, until the day I wrote this blog. That day, I realized that my experience was intended by God for 2 reasons: 1) to show me how we can hurt others with our own behavior and words, and 2) to teach others the lesson I learned. That lesson was “How I Learned to Watch My Step.”
The day I became a murderer taught me to always watch my step. When you walk in your own glory and mindset, your path may lead you astray. But when you walk in harmony with the LORD, His footsteps will always guide you on the correct path.
Last summer, my family had gone out somewhere (don’t remember where) and while we were out, I was stuck to my phone and social media as usual. I always try not to be on the phone during dinner so I can focus on my family, but I am imperfect and I fail miserably at everything, not just this. That day, I had gotten into a heated FaceBook argument with one of my dear friends about the death of George Floyd and the violence that occurred afterward. I carried this argument on ALL DAY, furiously responding when I could, with the belief that I was absolutely right and she was absolutely wrong. When we pulled into the driveway, I jumped out of the car, thumbs flying at top speed, and angrily stomped up the sidewalk. I saw something on the ground but didn’t take a second to see what it was. We have a lot of big acorns that fall in the yard from a tree beside our driveway, so I probably thought it was just another acorn. I angrily stomped it while walking by, as a way to destroy it to make myself feel better. That backfired royally.
**TRIGGER WARNING: The following paragraph may be upsetting to some**
When I stomped, it crunched under my foot but not in the usual way. It felt strange, so I looked back after I passed and I was absolutely horrified. I had stomped on a tiny baby bird, so small and new that it didn’t even have many feathers. It had probably fallen out of the nest and was waiting on mom to come rescue it, when my gigantic angry foot came down in judgment and ended its precious life. I immediately screamed and ran into the house, sobbing uncontrollably, and begged my husband to please go remove it from the sidewalk. I didn’t want to see it again, with its sweet little mouth open, and its intestines splattered all over the concrete. I was so upset. I didn’t want to see the mouth that would never sing a song of beauty, or the intestines that would never absorb bugs and worms to keep him healthy. I was utterly and completely mortified that I had ended this sweet little precious life. I felt like an absolute monster (and yes I cried while writing this, and again while typing it).
END TRIGGER WARNING
Since that day, I have thought about that baby every single time I walk on my sidewalk. Every. Single. Day. I still felt the guilt and shame every time. I’m the kind of person who feels bad for using live bait when fishing. I never stomp on crickets, I just pick them up and put them outside. I am the softie who cried for HOURS after hitting a squirrel that ran in front of my car. I’m the crybaby who STILL has nightmares from seeing a dog get hit by a car when I was 12. I can’t watch the animal shelter commercials. I have never watched Marley and Me. Turner and Hooch had me crying for days after the first time I saw it. I’ve even angered my husband because I refused to finish watching a movie where someone killed another person’s pet. This is the kind of person I am. I do not do well with seeing these types of things.
So, now you see why this bird murder (voluntary bird slaughter?) was so traumatic for me, and it has taken me so long to get over it. This morning as I sat on the porch in silence, enjoying my cup of coffee with the sound of rain on the canopy, I saw that the patio was full of slugs. I immediately thought I should be careful not to step on one of those nasty little things, and realized they were kind of cute with their little alien antennae. Of course that brought me right back to when I murdered poor Tweety in a fit of anger, and I cried for the 4,239th time since that day. I prayed right then and there, that God would bring me some peace about this, and help me to stop feeling so bad. I hadn’t intended on killing that bird, so why did I feel so terrible all these months later?? What was the purpose of it? To drive me insane? It was working.
Then, the words came pouring into my head as they usually do when the Spirit guides them. It became clear in that moment that God had allowed me to do what I did, in order to teach me a lesson, and so I would write about it to teach others. I wasn’t supposed to write about bird murder or slugs, though. I was supposed to write about how our anger makes us do things we wouldn’t normally do. Things we will regret. In one moment of intense anger, I completely snuffed out a life. We hear about things like this all the time: people killing people unintentionally. Joe Schmoe was only trying to scare his wife, he wasn’t trying to kill her, but he hit her in just the right place and it killed her. Jane Schmoe didn’t really intend to kill her husband, she just wanted to scare him because he cheated on her. So, she acted like she was going to hit him with the car, and her foot slipped. She killed him. Jimmy Schmoe didn’t intend to kill his little brother, he just pointed the gun at him to scare him because he was younger and smaller. The gun went off and now he is dead. In a moment of white-hot anger, we often transform into something or someone else, and do this terrible thing that we would never normally do. This is not just limited to killing, but can also include words. We hurt people with our words all the time, too.
The point of this is: We don’t get take-backs or do-overs. Once the deed is done, it is done. I can never bring that bird back. Joe, Jane, and Jimmy can never bring their families back. If I scream at my husband and tell him I hate him, I can never take that back. I can apologize and he can forgive me, but he will never forget. We should always think before we speak or act, because the damage we do may be irreparable. A few Bible verses about this:
- There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18
- Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Proverbs 18:21
- But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:8
- See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:15
- You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. James 4:2
Writing this has been cathartic for me. I knew the instant that the words poured into my head, that this would be the end of my guilt and shame over the bird. God has made me see that I can use this to share my own faults with others, so they too won’t have to live in guilt and shame over something they have done. That is the point of this lesson. We can NEVER Take it back. But, Jesus can heal it. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9.
Jesus IS faithful and just. With Jesus we get a fresh start. We become new again. He will cleanse and heal us from that pain and anger we have inside.
All we have to do is ask.