From the book entitled “More Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks” as edited by Wayne Rice, is a story about a parakeet and a vaccum cleaner but as you listen to it you may observe that it deals more than a story about a parakeet. It may actually be talking about you and me.
There’s the story of a woman who had a parakeet named Chippie. She loved Chippie because he was such a happy little song bird. Chippie’s constant chirping just seemed to brighten her day. One day, the woman was cleaning the bottom of Chippie’s cage with a vacuum cleaner when the telephone rang. She reached for the telephone without removing the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner from the cage, which was a mistake. The vacuum cleaner nozzle got pointed in the direction of poor little Chippie, and he was suddenly sucked up into the machine.
When the woman looked back at the cage and realized what had happened, she was horrified. She dropped the telephone, turned off the vacuum cleaner and ripped open the dust bag to get to her little bird. Chippie was a real mess, but he was still alive. She raced to the kitchen sink and turned the water on full force on Chippie. The more she tried to wash him, the worse he looked, so she took him to the bathroom and started trying to dry Chippied with her hair dryer–full force and high heat. Finally she got the bird dry and put him back in his cage.
Several days later, a friend called and asked how Chippie was doing.
“He’s alive,” he said, “but he just sits in his cage and stares into space. And,” she added thoughtfully, “Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore.”
We all know people who are a lot like Chippie. We know young people who once had a song in their hearts. But due to circumstances out of their control, they discovered that “life sucks.” As a result, they aren’t singing much anymore.
I never gave much thought about this until one time I had to stay home during a long vacation. The religious holidays took a couple of days and the stores were closed, the movies were showing nothing but old religious movies and I wasn’t at the mood of messing around with my computer. The only thing that got me going was to watch rented tapes all day long. BY the end of the day, I simply found myself staring at the boob tube allowing my mind to drift.
Thinking yet having no thoughts. Looking yet seeing nothing. So different from the usual vibrant and hyper active me. My wife and my kids noticed this and they laughed because at that time and circumstance, I was really a funny figure.
When they awakened me from my spell, I suddenly realized that I have been so accustomed to be moving around, getting busy, running all over the place such that I get so caught up with the rat race I don’t know how to rest any more. No, it’s not burn out, it’s not anything I know it’s just a case of getting so busy with life’s stupid demands such that my heart can’t even sing anymore. I may not have noticed this but I probably worship my work and work at my play because life’s different circumstances do have a tendency to rob our very life away from us. In other words, I felt like Chippie. But the question is: What about you?
Have you ever felt a little like Chippie? Have you been abused by people you loved? Has your world been turned upside down? Have you lost your desire to Sing? Well don’t!
As Chippie found out, there are no “quick fixes.” Healing takes time. But there is someone who can give you back your song and restore your joy. His name is Jesus. “Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things” (Psalm 98:1). It’s no longer strange to find that the Word of God calls Jesus a Healer. I guess no one can exist without Him, and that includes chippie as well as me.