"Oh my goodnes! I sat on your parakeet!" I jumped up as the bird began flying around the room.
"It's not my bird. It's been on your back since you came in." My neighbor said calmly as if it were perfectly normal to visit someone with a parakeet on your back. It was my first time visiting her and when i felt the bird under me, i thought I had sat right on it. Her son told us he saw it on my back as I approached the house. To this day I have no idea where it came from. As it flapped around her living room the thought went through my mind, 'She must think I'm crazy or rude or dirty.' Instead, as the bird flew out of the apartment, she said, "It must be a sign."
I'm not sure what she thought that bird was a sign of, but ever since that strange incident when a random parakeet rode my back into her living room, she has held me in high regard. That bird helped me win a place in my neighbor's heart.
Birds are so symbolic. The most recognizable bird symbol is probably the dove- a messenger of peace.
Some friends of mine at Discover the Journey http://www.discoverthejourney.org/ have made a way for children of war in the Congo to be messengers of peace in their country full of violence. Their ministry builds on forgiveness as the path to peace and equips children to be carry that message. Their video blog has the compelling story of a child soldier and tells how you can be connected with a child to be a Messenger of Peace.