Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A little birdy taught me

It was the normal morning drive; a country road that twists and turns through pastures and fields. We normally talk about the cows and how they give us "chocky-milk" or we remark about the lush green farms. Just as we cleared one of the many roller-coaster-like hills, the sun was shining so brightly I could barely see in front of me. And then I hear from the backseat, "Mom, look at all those birds! What are they doing on the ground with the cows?"

Sure enough, covering the pasture where the cows would ordinarily be standing were dozens and dozens of birds grazing instead. They were busy at work poking the ground.

"They're digging for worms!" I told my inquisitive preschooler, knowing his own love of this activity would surely peak his interest.

"Mom! Why are they on the ground?" he asked.

His emphasis was as if I had not properly understood - or answered - the question.

"I told you -  birds eat worms and the ground is wet from all the rain so they're digging up their breakfast," I clarified.

"But mom, birds are supposed to FLY!"

He's right. Birds were given wings and they were blessed with the ability to fly. So for him to see a flock of birds walking on the ground, neglecting to take flight in the air, this just didn't make sense.

There's a lot of things that can be said about a bird walking on the ground versus taking flight. If you've seen the movie Rio (one of my favorites!) two birds are chained together and it will take 30 minutes of flight time to get to the place that will bring them freedom. The flightless Blue Macaw asks how long the trip will take by foot. For a bird, the quickest and most direct route is by air. A flightless bird bound to the ground encounters all kinds of obstacles and obstructions. He was meant to fly.

The birds in the field today weren't grounded because they couldn't or wouldn't fly. On the contrary, they left their perch to find sustenance and strength by taking advantage of the feast now readily available after the past few days of rain. They were happily pecking away at the ground, eagerly hopping through the field and excitedly grazing the grass for a squirming feast.

How often am I bound by the chains that keep me from taking flight?

How often do I leave my comfort zone and what seems innate to retreat to the unnatural?

Am I willing to leave my lofty perch to take a lowly place on the ground?

Am I willing to give up the freedom of flying to walk around in new territory?

There's nothing more natural than seeing a bird spread its wings, take flight and soar across the sky. But more than the aerodynamics of the wings, the bird requires a source of strength to have energy to do what she was created to do. She must leave her perch and ground herself from flight to seek nourishment.

I've been grounded. I've found myself in an unnatural habitat. I've felt inhibited, hindered, chained by circumstances and feelings. There have been times the thought of surrendering my wings and what feels innate seemed to weigh me down. But there have also been realizations that I must replenish, restore and seek nourishment. Despite being "out of my element" on the ground, it is the very place where I find the source of strength I need to be able to take flight again.

I want to fly. I want to soar. I want to do what God created me to do... But I've got to be willing to leave my comfort zone, toil through the ground and dig up the strength that I need.

I know you'll want to join me in flight - but let's meet on the ground first!

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