Birds aren’t meant to live in cages
Neither are people
But there she was:
Trapped, ugly
Losing all her feathers
Plucking the feathers one by one
Freeing space for new ones to appear
It was painful
It was hard
Perhaps she could be beautiful again

I knelt beside her
“It’s okay, little one. I forgive you. You are always and forever FORGIVEN.”

“I don’t deserve forgiveness.”

She pressed her back against the wall and wailed.
So I placed my hands upon her face.

“Come on.” I said. “We are getting out of here.”
I pulled her to her feet.

“But I am weak,” she cried. “I might fail.”

“We might,” said I. “But we will never win if we don’t fight.”

The little bird began to laugh as SADNESS gave way to HOPE.
Tight shoulders released and she began to laugh.
Hope promised the possibility of FREEDOM!
Doors opened and we stepped out
The journey had begun
The Four Touchstones would rise and fall upon waves
Perhaps one day they would be joined by JOY

The little bird plucked another feather from her body.
One day she would be beautiful.
No, she was beautiful-even now
In the midst of the journey
Molting feathers giving way to new
Beautiful, forgiven, and free

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