I begin with an apology for the metaphor below. Being doubtful, I talked to my wife Jeanie about it and she advised against it. “What are you?” she said. “In middle school?”

“Well, no …”

So against her better judgment, here is today’s story and morality lesson.

We’ve noticed Canadian geese migrating north for a couple of weeks here on the Oregon coast. We can hear them honking and when we look to the sky, we can see them in their famous V-shaped flight formation, winging their way to British Colombia.

This reminded me of when a visiting clergyman preached at my first little church in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, a small town on the Mississippi just north of the Twin Cities. He was a Swedish Lutheran from Skeppsholmen not far from Stockholm. He was visiting a friend who happened to be a member of the congregation, and one thing led to another and here he was preaching on a Sunday morning in the spring of 1968.

He had worked hard on his sermon, and had an adequate command of English having studied since his days in grammar school in Sweden. His Sunday morning topic was “Helping One Another,” and he used as his illustration the manner in which geese fly in formation — he had seen them himself since his arrival on their way to Saskatchewan or Manitoba.

Unfortunately, and not too surprisingly, he had not mastered the strange and wonderful American idiom for — well, shall we say, flatulence.

He referred continually to the way birds “break wind” for one another. The congregation maintained its decorum by sheer dint of determination. After all, he was a guest, and came from afar and of course the message was one that everyone could take to heart.

We should all help others in whatever way we can. We should fly out ahead of them to make their “flight” easier in the way Canadian geese do when migrating to the south or making a return trip north.

In fact, sometimes we feel as though we can’t do anything. We don’t have the money or the energy. Perhaps our health is not what it used to be. We may have limited time, making long-term commitments inadvisable. How can we help anyone?

There are many possibilities, but it’s quite simple. Be considerate and as cheerful as possible, because this helps others and ourselves as well. And pray for others. This, too, helps others and ourselves. We don’t need money or a lot of vim and vigor to tap the power of prayer.

Break wind for someone today, ladies and gentlemen.