Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak.
-Psalm 6:2 NLT
One of my favorite author/speakers is Marilyn Meberg. A speaker with the original Women of Faith team, Marilyn excels at punctuating her life lessons with droll humor and off-the-wall examples. In her book I’d Rather Be Laughing, Marilyn shares this story regarding the need to change. I offer it here in my own thumbnail version.
There was a man named Calvin, an upstanding gentle bachelor who desired nothing more than some conversation to enhance his life. Deciding that a parrot would be the answer to his too-quiet world, he went to the pet store and asked if they had a very talkative parrot. Indeed, the shop owner did have such a bird, but he kept it locked in the back room. Being anxious to accomplish his mission, Calvin insisted on immediate purchase of his new companion and took it straight home. That’s when he discovered the parrot was indeed quite talkative…with a vocabulary that would blister the walls.
Poor Calvin did everything possible to change his bird. As if his social life wasn’t bad enough already, his new pet was now killing it. One day, as the parrot filled the air with especially offensive language, Calvin could take it no more. He grabbed the bird from its cage, flung it into the freezer and slammed the door. He heard it squawking, swearing, and thrashing about for a few minutes, and then suddenly, it became deathly quiet. Calvin waited a few more minutes before cautiously opening the freezer door. The parrot stood there, quiet and calm, looking back at him.
In the most humble fashion, the parrot apologized for all the errors of his ways. Furthermore, he vowed never to repeat the offenses and to be a source of pleasure and good company in the future. There was just one question.
“I do wonder, sir…I have to ask…what did the chicken do?”
Change. It’s a constant in this earthly life. Things just don’t stay the same – on any level…personal, country, church or any other facet of life. The key question always comes down to each of us as individuals regardless of the scope and reach of the community.
Sometimes change comes when we get a look at the possible consequences of our actions. The parrot got a look at what he feared might be his future and decided it was in his best interest to change his ways. Would that it was that quick and easy. The initial reaction when we’re faced with the need for change is to resist. “I/We’ve never done things that way before!” Sooner or later, the time comes to determine how to maneuver this new situation with as much grace and dignity as possible. What can I do to make this new situation as painless as possible.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what the chicken did.