What on earth is a pigeon B & B? And what could it possibly have in common with cleaning up dog vomit? Well, both are acts of service.
Late last night, when both dogs were out doing their evening constitutional (nuff said), I looked up to see a bird appear almost magically out of the night sky … and then promptly fly straight into the kitchen window. Ouch. The poor thing dropped to the ground like a stone and simply lay there. Fortunately neither dog showed any interest beyond an initial inquisitorial sniff – clearly not exciting enough for them. So what could my dad and I do?
We decided to go hunting … for a good size box (aka Pigeon B & B). Dad’s garden is usually a mecca for the local feline community and so the little pigeon’s chances of survival looked rather grim. We found an old towel to line a plastic box and enough cardboard to cover his possible escape attempts, whilst leaving room for air to circulate too. Luckily, ‘little pigeon’ was quite happy to be picked up (no rings though, we checked) and in the box he went, along with some water, and a couple of drops of valerian on the towel – good for anxiety!
By this morning ‘little pigeon’ had slept off the shock and fluttered off to the nearest fence – the next 5 mins were spent checking his/her ability to walk up and down the fence a few times, that all feathers were present and correct, and that he/she could in fact fly just fine, thank you very much. After much cautious posturing – internal dialogue imagined as: ‘I’m gonna fly, well in just a mo, no I will, ok just one final check, yep all feathers here, two feet, ah go on then …’ – and little pigeon flew towards the kitchen window (cue sharp intake of breath) and then away in a graceful curve and off into the horizon.
Providing pigeon B & B was probably the single most important act I/we did yesterday; such a simple act of service and yet vital to that bird’s continued health and life. It also gave me so much joy to see that little bird fly off today.
A few minutes later one of the dogs brought up a bit of their breakfast on the living room carpet. Where’s the joy in that? Well, taking the time to be present when cleaning it up, cleaning calmly and mindfully, meant that the task became a blessing, an act of service to the dog, my father (whose house we’re in) and to myself – reminding me of the joy there is in simply being present. Also of the simplicity there is in life. We overcomplicate so much of our lives with wants and distractions, but actually what we need in order to survive and even to thrive is actually very little.
So, it is well worth paying attention to the opportunities life offers us to provide even the tiniest acts of service – these can indeed be transformational moments.