(First thing I ever wrote, circa fifth grade.)
Green her stem
Green her leaves
Red her garment but then–
I was there on that day in fall
She had lost her leaves, her garment, her all.
But wait! There’s still a hope–part of her garment is still there,
Torn from her heart, her heart so fair.
Then I discovered a very sad thing,
She wouldn’t be back ’till the coming of spring.
Every morning a one-legged junco shows up for his job at Starbucks. He stands alone, one foot away from the closed glass door. Coffee vapors seep through the edges, lace a frosty morning. Roasty goodness smiles, beckons you inside with its brown finger. You step closer. Mr. One-Leg refuses to move. You reach for the door. Forget about it. Not moving. You feel like you can’t get at the coffee, though in truth you could. Does the bird understand you’re on a tight schedule? Mr. One-Leg has moxy.
Only when you give this well-fed junco your crumb pledge does he hop aside and let you pass. Now, he has you trained. Then, something else happens: his confidence and courage earn your attention and respect.
Sometimes you may feel like a one-legged junco. You may have come into this world intact but birth family had its way with you and now you find you’re “missing a leg.”
- You may hunger to be seen.
- You may long for mutuality.
- You may also experience crushing loneliness. This may come as a result of choices you make, which may not be bad choices at all–I’m talking about the hard and best choices a person makes to protect one’s self from others who would harm.
Sometimes good choices can feel incredibly bad when it comes to choosing not to stay around people who make you feel bad. You may feel like you lost a family or mate that wasn’t really family at all. A double whammy. This can be crippling. That’s one possible outcome.
Yet, you, like Mr. One Leg, continue to show up for life because you’re made of good stuff. You may have received some awful programming. You may have been bound for years by unhealthy family ties. You may have lost some feathers, picked up some dents and dings along the way. You may have lent your heart to someone who vandalized it for a while. They may have even burgled your voice. You may have lost sight in one eye. A broken wing may have mended badly, a beautiful dream may have ended sadly and maybe, just maybe you can’t fly like you thought you somehow would. Life took little child you and did its thang. You got a bum rap. And yet you survived.
It’s good to establish the facts. That way you can look into the mirror and view your strengths, your remaining options. We are all damaged. Don’t be afraid. You have new choices to make so you’d best get busy. Think about this: as you look into the mirror, let’s suppose your world of I CAN’T shifts to a world of WHAT IF?
- What if your remaining leg has gotten so strong that it’s given you REAL STRENGTH?
- What if the other birds respect your COMMITMENT to the door?
- What if your woundedness gives you REAL COURAGE–the kind that brings you to a better way of doing life every morning? What about that, my friend?
- What if your tactics for survival in the past may now help you to STRATEGIZE for your future?
- What if you dig deep and ACT on your hard-won knowledge?
- What if there’s more to you than you realized?
I give Mr. One-Leg a lotta credit. Once he figures out a basic strategy he takes it one hop further! He gimps alongside you to the patio table (making sure you follow through on your commitment). Then, he looks up and says, “More, please!”