By Charles Towne

When I was just a runty little kid, no bigger than a misbegotten wart on a toad’s behind, thanks to my blessed mother I learned a most valuable lesson about responsibility.  I accidentally on purpose shot a cardinal with my slingshot. I picked the bird up, and though I was proud of my marksmanship, I was sorry that the beautiful creature was dead. I carried the bird home and showed it to my mama, and being very wise she asked, “Why did you kill it?”  I had no answer.  And then she asked, “What are you going to do with it?”  I replied, “Do with it?  I don’t know, I guess I’ll bury it.”   She took the once beautiful bird in her hands and holding it oh so carefully, she said, “Oh my, don’t bury it son.  I believe I can think of something better to do with it.”  And she did.  That evening I ate fried cardinal for supper.  (Take my word for it, cardinals are not for eating!)  Yes, I was definitely sorry for killing the cardinal, and I can still taste that bird to this day.  I never shot another songbird in my long and eventful life.  We must take responsibility for our actions not always blame others.  My dear friend, I cannot change you, but I can, by God’s abundant grace and with His will, change myself.  No, I take that back, I can’t even change myself, I’ve tried that and it don’t work, only God can do that.  Actually, it is the only thing I really know for sure.
We must remember that there is always a price to be paid for our actions, and for the words we speak.  This is a basic rule of nature, and a rule that most of us have forgotten, the price is called, consequence.  We can go through life always playing the blame game, always angry, mean-spirited and full of hate or we can let go of all the negative and surrender to a loving God.  What we do is up to us.  We can live in a constant state of hate, anger, and discord, or we can be what Papa God calls us to be, a person taking on the image of our Lord, master, and friend Jesus Christ.

Live fully,
Love openly,
And make a difference, today

Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.


  1. What a teachable moment!
    Wise mother indeed!
    We’ve all had a hard lesson
    of some sort to learn.
    God, teach us through life’s situations and pain…teach
    us your love.
    Thank you, Lord, for loving us enough to change us.

  2. Love this story about the cardinal and taking responsibility. Especially the part about killing the cardinal “accidentally on purpose.” Very funny! You certainly learned from that. Thanks for reminding me that we are responsible for allowing God change us.

  3. Dear CSG, you are so very right, she was wise indeed! The sad thing is that some of us never do learn. Oh, it isn’t that we are stupid or unteachable, it just seems to be that for some damaged folks it is easier, more convenient if you will, to muck our way through life, never growing, never expanding, just contentedly eating grass and chewing our cuds with the rest of the cattle. I suppose that is a little too morose for most folks but if we are to grow we must admit to perhaps being wrong now and then. Thanks so much, Chaz

  4. Yes, sometimes we learn. I learned that cardinal tastes like… well, it tastes like cardinal! When something is that unpalatable you don’t really look forward to repeating the experience! Yes, it was accidental because my aim wasn’t all that good and it was also on purpose ’cause I did after all kill the little bird. Some folks might claim the bird committed suicide, after all it should have known better that to tempt a little redheaded kid! Thanks dear friend, Chaz

  5. Sounds like your mother’s wisdom paid off beautifully!

    I like what you say about the consequences of our actions and the words we speak. As a younger person, it was relatively easy for me to see the connection between action and consequence. But, I really didn’t comprehend the effect of the words I spoke. Fortunately, time and experience has taught me a lot about the importance of what we say (and how we say it).

    May we all be gently reminded of what we need to know, so that all of our lessons don’t come in such painful packages. 🙂

  6. Nicole, I know that our Papa God is mightily pleased when we do finally learn and turn what we have learned to our eternal advantage and to His purpose. Some of us, like my mama, let her life lessons develop her into an instrument of love and peace. I like that don’t you? Thanks oodles, Chaz
    P.S. I can still taste that cardinal!

  7. Another lesson learned is that you don’t kill for sport. If you need to feed your family, that’s a different matter. Hunting is also about taking responsibility for your actions. Today, too many so called sports men hunt out of pride for a trophy kill.
    One can relate ‘trophy killing’ to speaking unkind words and spreading gossip. The one relaying the story intentionally has made a choice to cause pain, undermine, destroy a reputation. . . . which can be considered a form of killing.

  8. Judith, point well taken and lesson well learned. It is a fact that a malicious tongue can be as deadly as a rifle bullet. Perhaps even deadlier in the sense that it keeps on killing long after the intended victim is long dead. Thanks so very much for the wise observation. Chaz

  9. Judith, let it never be said of any of us that we set out to cripple or destroy another person’s reputation even if we know the thing be the truth for to do such is nothing short of murder. Blessings on you and yours, Gorden


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here