A Lovely Macaw

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those he has.” Epictetus

For the last few months a Macaw has been taking shape on our dining-room table for Doris has been latch-hooking a Macaw, It is a picture that may end on one of our walls. This bird is the same colour as the one we had back in the 60’s when we lived in Rio. That Macaw also had a bright gold breast that included the underside of its immense wings and added to that the almost iridescent blue body. In any case the picture on the table reminds me of the bird we once had.

I recall one day when I was feeding it that it was out of humour and it bit my finger so it bled. Remember, Macaws feed on many jungle fruits but it was more important to remember, it can break the shell of the Brazil nut to get a lunch. It is only one of three animals that can crack open that tough nut. This is how it manages the task. It holds the nut with one foot and then bit by bit peels away the shell. A strange part of their diet in the wild is certain clay banks along rivers. It was thought the clay provided an antidote to their diet of certain foods that were thought to be toxic. However lately it has been found that the birds choose clay that is high in sodium.

The Macaw is a long-tailed bird of the parrot family that comes in different sizes and a variety of colours including green, red, yellow, blue and some bits of black. Unfortunately a couple of the sub species of Macaws are now extinct and most of the others are endangered and are now protected. That raises the question of how we had a Macaw as a pet. Remember this, back in the 60’s before the rain forest began to have extensive cutting, there was no lack of birds and animals. It was common then for Macaws to be bought and sold. All that has dramatically changed—and just as well. It is noteworthy that the Macaw appears on one of the Brazilian bank notes.

So how did we come by our Macaw? I don’t have the slightest idea but I remember how we let it go. Neighbours there in Rio used to comment again and again about our beautiful Macaw and since we had learned during our time in Brazil that such comments meant we had a social obligation to give the bird to them. That is exactly what we did. You know the old saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” I suppose it we were repeating our experience of owning a Macaw that somehow we would have freed it somewhere in the jungle. Remember this–a rain forest would have been a long way from the big city where we ministered. The question then would be, “Can it survive in the jungle after being fed by us during a number of years?”

Freedom—that is something to ponder for this beautiful bird. We may have seen on TV a video the beauty of Macaws flying with those huge wings and long trailing tail. But when I think of freedom for a Macaw I also ponder the freedom that our Creator has available for each of us. It is a freedom of the inner soul that comes through faith in Christ’s gift of mercy. We all understand how it is easy to fall into the bondage of guilt through failures in a personal history. Add to that the fear and uncertainly of the future—especially as we trek towards the end of life. That is when I think of the words of our Master who said of himself, “He whom the Son sets free is free indeed.”

I’m hoping that everyone who reads this blog may too know the joy of free flight–a freedom high above the darkness of some personal rain forest. May you rise up on wings as if you were lifted by those of a macaw.



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