There was a very old woman who lived in a small village and was known for her wisdom. The children in town decided they were going to deceive the old woman and ruin her reputation. A young boy caught a small bird, which he showed his young friends. He said, “I will ask the old woman if the bird I am holding in my hands is dead or alive. If she says it is dead, I will open my hands and let the bird fly away. If she says it is alive, I will squeeze the life out of it, and show her the dead bird. Either way she will be wrong.” The children all agreed. They approached the old woman, sitting on the front porch, in a wooden rocking chair. The children crowded around the boy as he questioned the woman about the bird. “Is the bird in my hands dead or alive?” She was thoughtful for a moment and looked closely at the children. She chose her words carefully, “It is in your hands.” I tell this story to my class every year when we study the virtue of wise judgement. This is not the judicial type of judgement. This is wise judgement, based on the well-being of others. It is easy to form decisions around our baser needs, like anger, greed, pride, lust, envy, laziness and gluttony. (We recognize these as the seven deadly sins) It is the direction I will naturally follow if not disrupted by the opposing force of love. I cannot do this on my own. It requires God, prayer, and a humbling of self. I think this is what the wise old woman meant when she said, “It is in my hands.”
Life is precious, handle with prayer.