Patting Birds


Linus, of Peanuts’ fame, was taking a lot of heat because of his newly found “calling.” He liked to pat birds on their heads. Distressed little birds would approach Linus, lower their feathered pates to be patted, sigh deeply, and then walk away satisfied. This brought Linus indescribable fulfillment. It brought Charlie Brown and Lucy embarrassment and chagrin. Charlie Brown and Linus dialogued about all this patting. Linus wanted to know, “What’s wrong with patting birds on the head?” It made sense to Linus, for this made the birds feel better and it made him feel happy all over.

“So what’s wrong with it?” Charlie stared thoughtfully, and then declared rather frankly, “I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it. No one else does it.” There is a great lesson here. Every one of us is uniquely gifted to be a blessing, if not to birds, then to other people. But too many of us suffer from “paralysis by analysis.” If no one else is “doing it” we won’t either. But true fulfillment in life will only come when you figure out your unique role.

So step out. Be yourself. Pat a bird on his head. Solomon said, “Let the wise listen and add to their learning and let the discerning get guidance, for understanding proverbs and parables, the saying and riddles of the wise” (Proverbs 1:5-6). Here’s wisdom – finding someone who is lonely, lost, or last, and “patting them on the head.” It’s called encouragement. Try this. Do something for someone who has no capacity to pay you back. If you can’t find someone, pat a bird on the head.


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