or A Small Bird in a Cage*
The little poor sparrow is suffering inside his cage. The cage owners imprisoned it to sing for them because they do not know how to sing. Maybe if I opened the cage it will fly away happily, seeking freedom in an outside world. I opened the door to its cage, I wanted to give the sparrow its freedom. I left the door open, but surprisingly, it does not come out, it does not want to escape.
Why you refused to get out little sparrow?!! May be the sound of freedom is new to your ears; do not you know the meaning of freedom? Or may be because you were born and brought up inside a cage you do not know anything about “out of the cage” world? You were born while “the door was closed”; how hard is it to recognize an “open door”? You grew up with caged parents, may be your true cage is your inherited beliefs?
Is it safety you’re looking for? Your cage is keeping you safe from cats, eagles and wild animals. Don’t you know that the cage may protect you from cats and eagles, but it will not prevent insects, mice and cold from getting to you?! Your safety is an illusion, the danger can reach you inside the cage. May there will come a time when insects and mice invade your little place, then your screaming won’t help you to escape, and your cage will be your grave. Don’t you get it. The cage is not meant to give you safety , it was meant to prevent you from escaping. Run away before it’s too late.
Is food and drink you’re after? Is that why you refuse freedom? This is indeed an easy life. Do you say to yourself: “Why should I strain myself and go out to find food and drink; why struggling to survive? I can live in my cage where satiety and pampering. Why reject little restrictions that carry with it the food?”
You little poor, are you sure that the owner of the cage will keep providing you with food and drink on schedule? What will you do when food and drink are gone? How you will survive in a closed cage? Then you will die of starvation behind bars. It will be too late to understand the most basic lessons of life, that freedom is more essential than food.
I remember asking you why you have wings? You believed they were for warmth. My attempts failed to convince you they are to fly. Don’t you get it. You’re made to fly. Now you live a disguised life behind bars without functional wings like rodents. What a shame. Even if you grew up among birds with weak wings, should not you have thought a little? Why did not you rebel against your fellow caged birds to get your freedom?
I watched you before, when you were visited by a wild sparrow. Your wild friend invited you to leave the cage and live on a tree. You refused to listen, you thought it was an invader, an instigator of evil. You should have tried. You were too domestic to feel the rush of an adventure.
Beautiful little bird; do not you know that life outside the cage would mean adventures and facing danger, but it is also the true rich life of meaning. Outside, you would experience flowers, trees and waterfalls. You would smell new odors, and see new colors. You will have the chance to build your own nest as high as you can over the tree tops. Outside you would find true love.
Right now, you live inside the cage, a prisoner. Do not wait too long. Soon a day will come, where your cage will be infested with invading insects, rodents and snakes. The cold of the winter will hit so hard. You will die like a mouse in a trap. Then you will hear my faint words while dying “Oh little one, how many times have I opened the door of the cage for you, and you did not come out, I wanted you life and freedom, but you did not accept … behold, your cage is left to you desolate”
* I originally wrote this article in Arabic in 1998 to my local church magazine in Egypt. It never got published because some church leaders thought it will incite Christian young men to doubt and criticize church dogmas. I never knew how?