Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More from the Old Lady

Journal Entry No. 2

It has been an interesting  24 hours.  I have witnessed wonderfully powerful storms; I have witnessed beautiful skies filled with interesting clouds and rainbows; I have experienced a solitude that I can hardly ever remember feeling.  I know that I will "wake up" from this dream world soon, and be quite happy to go back to my life of laundry and errands and making dinner, but for now I will marvel at this opportunity to become reacquainted with myself.

I was also faced with a moral dilemma this morning, which was made all the more difficult by the ideas that I have been absorbing through books read during my hiatus.  Here is the scenario:

My daughter, Erica, who was here at the Coast a few days before me, had made friends with a seagull that would come to the back deck.  Of course, when you feed a bird an entire bagel each day it will be smart enough to come back repeatedly for a delectably easy meal.  In fact, she asked me to note the bird's markings so if it came while she was gone I would know to which bird I was to give my breakfast.

So this morning, right on schedule, at seemingly the same hour that yesterday Erica had offered her bagel, I hear a terrible racket outside on the deck.  Sure enough, there was Erica's friend yelling at another bird that had the nerve to encroach on his territory. Soon the other bird left and our greedy friend remained, waiting for his daily handout.  Here comes the moral dilemma.  I had just read the beautiful sermon by King Benjamin, Are we not all beggars in the sight of God?  Should we not give part of our substance to the less fortunate because it is a way of serving our Father in Heaven?  I had an extra bagel.  It was not taking food away from me or my children. 

But then as I watched the bird's tenacity at defending it's territory, as I watched it's boldness in pecking at the window to get my attention, as I watched it moving from one window to the next to improve it's vantage point, I realized that perhaps the situation was not as simple as it seemed.  If I continued my daughter's innocent gesture, would this bird continue to come back every day, even when we are not here, to pester and annoy the next residents who had come for a peaceful stay at the beach?  How would they feel about having to put up with the noisy, greedy bird?  Would they find it charming to have a feathered friend, or would they be upset by the shortsightedness of the previous inhabitants?

How does our society handle the "needs" of its dependents?  Have they become helpless because of the continuous string of easy handouts that are readily available?  Have they wizened up, having figured out the system, and are demanding their entitlements at the door of those that are working by the sweat of their brow for their daily bread?

Well, it is all food for thought, I guess.  And thankfully it is not yet frowned upon in our society to think or to reason.  Will the moral dilemmas continue to present themselves?  I'm certain of it.  Will there ever be an easy answer to them?  Probably not.

4 comments:

laura said...

That is definitely food for thought and speaking of food, how long did it take for the bird to leave or did you end up feeding him? :-)

Kim Despain said...

Answers to those kinds of questions are never easy ~ those are the things I tend to also stew over the most. And I'm curious like Laura ~ what did you end up doing?

Anonymous said...

The only true sin is to refuse to think. Rough quote from Ayn Rand.

Derek Young said...

Great post. Did you feed the bird?