On the surface, this looks like a story about little birds learning to fly. It’s not.
I’m sure your next assumption is that the little flying birds are a metaphor for my children. That would be a mighty fine story and you’re welcome to tell it to yourself. This… this is something different.
There was a little bird in the front yard the other day.
It wasn’t quite flying, but it was doing the fly-hop thing. The parental birds were in the nearest tree branch, crying out what sounded like encouragement and instruction.
My neighbor and her daughters were quite distressed. They were worried that the sweet little baby would be devoured by one of the neighborhood cats. They were worried that the bird would die of cold, unable to fly back up to it’s nest. They worried that the bird would starve.
For several minutes, they clustered around the small bird protectively. The parents, faced with something they perceived to be a threat, backed away.
My neighbors thought they had abandoned their baby.
So they did what seemed right to them. They rescued the bird. They entered their home with plans to place the bird in a large empty dog crate and feed it a mixture of ham strips and wet dog food.
Without the services of an experienced wildlife expert, the chances are that the bird will never fly. He (or maybe she) is doomed to life in a cage, eating from someone’s hand.
There were two more little birds in my back yard that same day.
Later in the day, my kids came running in from the back yard full of news about a hurt baby bird. One look told me that it was the two siblings of the rescued baby blue jay. The parents were both nearby and they were frantic.
I explained to the boys that we needed to give them space. The birds had to learn to fly and they would probably fail several times before they succeeded. We stood at the window and watched in stillness.
After about twenty minutes (and several failed attempts) both birds managed to flutter to the top of our fence. The boys lost interest and I wasn’t able to continue watching the birds that day.
This morning, I saw them. Two small birds and their parents were all in my backyard. When they saw me, all four took flight to the open skies.
Learning to fly isn’t easy.
The birds tried and failed over and over until they achieved flight. They tried with their whole being. There was nothing else they were trying to do. For them, it was fly or die.
This morning there are two little birds that are soaring against a blue sky. They are doing what they were created to do.
This morning there is one little bird in a cage.
I am learning to fly.
Less than five years ago, I finally figured out what I believe I was created to do. It gave my life vision and purpose. It made a huge difference for me. But it wasn’t instant.
There wasn’t a light switch I could flip that instantly changed my entire life to be exactly what it needs to be. Becoming the woman I was called to be has been, and continues to be, a journey.
It’s hard work. But at some point I know I will fly. And then… well, the sky is the limit.
Those who are closest to me have watched. They’ve watched my failed attempts when I flutter a few inches above the ground and then crash land. They’ve stayed close by, calling out encouragement. In some cases they’ve chased away big cats to keep me safe. But mostly, they’ve just watched.
They understand that I have to do this for myself and trust that I will.
I’m thankful those close to me understand, and that they haven’t scooped me up to keep me safe.
Where did you see yourself in this story?