• Earlybird Gets the Broom

    Early Bird Gets the Broom


    There is a time and a place for everything, and the last day of a church camp is not the time nor the place for an early bird.

    Encounter is a camp that, as a youth minister, I take the teenagers from my youth group in Texas to, a camp I have gone to for over a decade. I do so, not because it is easy, but because it is effective. it certainly is not easy. I don’t want to complain too much about it, because it could be worse. In some ways, it is less demanding than other camps are on me, but extremely late nights and early mornings and full days of teaching and activity and personal ministry make me increasingly exhausted as the week goes on.

    Such was the case a few years ago, a week that had been particularly draining. on Friday morning, the last full day of camp activities before we would head back home the following day, I was in a much needed deep sleep. suddenly, outside my window, there was the beautiful song of a bird of which I am unfamiliar the species. In a delicate but clear, crystallin tone, this bird was singing a cheerful, optimistic song to greet the new day. This early bird had something to look forward to, had a joyful expectation for the day, and wanted to share that with the world.

    But I just wanted it to stop!

    Don’t get me wrong, I like birds as well as the next guy, and I appreciate optimism and hope and joy in anyone, regardless of species. but not at 4 in the morning! I know the bird has hopeful expectations for the day, but at 4 in the morning, that’s a little too eager. and I know it wants to spread its joy to others around, but at 4 in the morning, that’s a disturbance.

    In the book of Proverbs, we are told that a person who intends to offer a blessing, if done too early in the morning, it will instead come across as a curse. this is not so much a command as it is an observation about life. The writer had obviously experienced either trying to impart a blessing but at the wrong time only to find that the person was more insulted then appreciative or, perhaps more likely, had the experience of being on the receiving end of a person’s Wellington gende but poorly timed greeting or blessing. This came to mind at 4 in the morning when I began looking for a broom with which to return d blessing of the early bird outside the window.

    It is a lesson that will help us to be received well as we tried to show kindness to others. As Christians, and even merely as people trying to be good people, it is our desire to be a blessing and to show kindness. But it behooves us to keep in mind that there is a time and a place for everything, which makes it true that there is also a wrong time and a wrong place for those same things. We would not want to bang on a neighbor’s door at 4 in the morning only to greet then when they answer the door by blurting out that we just wanted to wish them a good day. this would not create a good start to their day, nor would it endear them to us.

    This reminds me to be considerate of another person’s needs before I try to give them what I think they need. I may have great intentions to be a blessing, followed by a great idea that I believe will bless them. but this does not ensure it will be a blessing. What must be considered most and must be considered first is how it will be received, not how it is given, the attitude and the means and intentions with which is given.

    I know I have been on the receiving end of some well intentioned but poorly timed blessings. People who were trying to minister to me with a deep and heartfelt talk who had little concern for the fact that I badly needed to be somewhere else at that moment or that the environment we were in would make it extremely uncomfortable to have that talk there. Just to name one example. Thankfully, these are from people I love and whom I know want the best for me, so I enable to try to adapt how I receive it, basing it not on what it meant to me but rather on what it meant for them to give it.

    Still, let us take a lesson from the bird. If you have some hope to give or a song to share, wait until the person can receive it as a blessing. otherwise, you might get the broom.

  • A Bird in the Hand

    A Bird in the Hand


    One of the things I love most about being a parent is enjoying things in a fresh way and to a larger degree simply by watching my children enjoy them. one example is that I had never gone to Disney land or Disney World in my childhood or adult life before I had children. however, when I finally did go when our son was 2 years old, I can honestly say that my greatest enjoyment of that magical place was watching my son enjoy that magical place. every time I have returned to their with our children, the same remains true.

    The Fort Worth Zoo is another great example. One area in particular was a special delight to my children, and so has been a special delight to me.

    Since our children have been born, early on in their lives, a favorite activity I have enjoyed with them is standing outside and pointing out birds. even only days old, our babies could appreciate the sight of seeing these mysterious creatures darting overhead with nothing to hold them up but there. as they’ve grown, they’ve continue that fascination. watching birds from the ground or through the window in our kitchen captivates their little minds and accelerate their imaginations.

    But there’s a problem. as the saying goes, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. implied in that saying is that birds in the bush still lack something. they are still out of reach.

    Until one day, my family went to the Fort Worth Zoo for the very first time. it must have been soon after we moved to Texas because either my daughter had not been born yet or she was still an infant. Fort Worth Zoo is a great zoo with impressive displays, but one thing I did not expect in a zoo was the aviary. I remember the experience clearly. we were walking through a path that went up hill through some trees. Along this trail, there were many displays of exotic birds. large, strange looking birds, as well as beautiful and elaborately decorated Birds. these were much different from the local species that we watch from our driveway or yard or kitchen window, so it was fun to marvel at them. but again, they were merely birds in the bush.

    Suddenly, the sound of what seemed to be hundreds of small chirping birds came from around the corner. My son was craning his neck in the stroller, eager for a look at the source of the sound. I did not expect what we found. there was a large wired fenced area with trees inside it and too many small but colorful birds inside. it was a thrilling sight, to say the least, but what was most amazing is that this was an area people were allowed into. and not just allowed in to walk around, but given sticks of birdseed to bring the birds to a person’s very fingertips.

    The wide eyed excitement on my son’s face is something I will never forget. He was in disbelief that he was actually going to be able to enter this aviary and possibly even get close to a bird. little did he know that he would not merely get close to a bird.

    They could have been selling the sticks of birdseed for $100 a piece and we would have paid it, but luckily they were more affordable then that. We paid the attendant, grabbed our bait, and rushed through the door into the aviary. just being so close to that many birds, and such beautiful brightly colored birds at that, was intoxicating. the branches were low and close to the path so that birds, even though still birds in the bush, were easily within reach. and this time, we had something to offer them to make them want to be reached. we must have come right at their lunch time because the second we presented are birdseed sticks, we were flocked with birds. At first, it startled my son, as free perched on his stick and began to fight over the seeds. the claws on their feet and the quick stabbing motion of their beaks suddenly frightened him, but only for a moment. with some reassurance from me and a little time to get used to the experience, he became confident enough to merely enjoy the experience. before I knew it, he was standing on his own holding a stick with two birds without any assistance from me. it was one of the most magical moments of his life to that point, and so, as I stated before, it was one of the most magical moments of my life up to that point.

    He was finally able to hold what he had only been able to admire from afar, and I can tell you that a bird in the hand really is worth two in the bush.

  • Icarus’ Fall

    Icarus’ Fall


    I recently posted a blog on this site about Daedalus and his impressive flight. while acknowledging that there is a tragic flipsyde to Daedalus story, I applauded the model of tenacity and patience and endurance and alertness and humility and mastery and attention to detail that Daedalus is to those who seek to draw wisdom from his story. a master of that caliber did not sore to the heights by his own unique brilliance and creativity, but by resourcefulness and his ability to find inspiration outside himself. this great master was a captive and yet even the most common bird was free. he recognized the birds superiority and humbly learned from them. that ability to be teachable and to receive instruction even from common things is part of what made him so great. It is what gave him flight.

    Unfortunately, the opposite is true for his son, Icarus. Icarus is described as a young man, we may think of him as a teenager, which is often associated with vitality and prowess but also just as often associated with immaturity and foolishness. This is certainly the case for Icarus in this well known Greek myth. In fact, it is interesting that, in the Renaissance era, Daedalus became associated with the classical artists, whose style was mature and refined, and Icarus was associated with the newer and often younger Renaissance artists, who had little concern for classic technique or with traditional methods and rules of artistry. they were thought of as driven by passion rather than technique. in our time, this is obviously a commendable trait, people who are able to think outside the box and who are driven by a genuine passion and who are expressive and who go beyond what is traditional, but in a large way then, and to a certain degree now, this accusation was not meant as flattery but as an indictment on the youthful disregard for maturity and wisdom and experience and technique. Being passion led and uninhibited is not always a healthy quality, as this meth illustrates.

    Aside from the birds, there are only two characters in this story Wednesday list and Icarus are imprisoned. These two characters could not be more antithetical. it is uncertain if Icarus shared his father’s affinity for innovation and intelligence, but the lack of mention seems to imply he did not. so while his father excelled, the son settled. And most notoriously, under flight to freedom, Daedalus demonstrates remarkable restraint and moderation, while Icarus slowly becomes more and more extreme and unrestrained, in a word, careless.

    Daedalus, the one who created the wings and who therefore new best how they should be used, instructed his son for the flight. among all the technical training on how to operate the wings came the crucial instructions to avoid extreme highs or extreme Lowes. to fly too low, Daedalus warned, would expose the wings to the mist of the sea and soak the feathers, making them inoperable, stranding him in the ocean. to fly too high, he continued ominously, would be to expose the wings to the heat of the Sun, melting the wax that was holding them together. The legal implications of that were obvious.

    It seems the Icarus was not altogether careless, because they were able to make it a fair distance safely. thus his floor was not total disregard or having rejected or ignored his father’s instructions, but rather that he slowly became overconfident to the degree that he lost his vigilance and conscious adherence to the safe path formulated by his. father.

    As the book of Proverbs says, pride goes before a fall. in the case of Icarus, it was a lofty pride that led to a mighty fall. I can imagine the scene. Icarus is tentative and careful and nervous and intensely vigilant when they begin the flight. after a while of the monotony, he feels confident enough to lighten up, possibly even trying a few maneuvers. rising a bit they’re dropping a little here, but all well within the safe zone his father had prescribed. soon, this was not enough of a thrill, and feeling like an expert, he began more risky maneuvers. perhaps rising abruptly and then diving quickly, or maybe some flips or twist and rolls. I imagine his father scolding him as he saw his son becoming more and more lenient, ordering him to remain focused on simply making it safely to land. each time, I imagine Icarus falling back into line with his father’s will, I’ll albeit increasingly reluctantly. finally, he began making maneuvers even more drastic, eventually rising to heights where it was impossible to hear his father’s call to return. drunk on the sensation of unrestrained flight, he lost all concern for wisdom. only when it was too late, when the hot wax was dripping off the wings like water and feathers we’re flying loose in the wind by the dozens, did he suddenly understand the purpose for his father’s restrictions and regret breaking them.

    It was Daedalus careful moderation and wisdom vet landed him safely aground. it was Icarus disregard for wisdom and moderation that caused him to plummet from a moment in the glorious heights to his death in the sea.

    This is a far too common trend, and it is becoming more common as tolerance replaces discernment and unchecked permissiveness replaces rules and discipline. passion without wisdom May sometimes lead to dizzying heights, but it cannot sustain that success and always, always results in disaster where the person ends at much lower then they would have been if they had been tempered by wisdom.

    Perhaps it’s not so bad to be a Daedalus after all.

  • Daedalus’ Flight

    Daedalus’ Flight


    Daedalus was a brilliant and creative master. he served the king Minos and is credited with inventing carpentry and inventing a plumb line and inventing many various tools. it is also said that he could sculpt statues so lifelike that the observers of the statues could easily forget that they were looking at statues, that they seem to have their own life, that they seemed to possess self movement, and that if it weren’t for the chains that held them to the wall, observers would forget that they were merely statues.

    One anecdote of his cleverness is a riddle that he solved. Daedalus was in hiding from the king Minos, who was seeking to kill the inventor. the King had to search from one city to the next, from one village to the next, and even from one Kingdom to the next to find this crafty man. rather than just ask the inhabitants if they had seen Daedalus, the King devised a way to draw out Daedalus, or at least to detect his presence. he knew that if anything would give away Daedalus presents, it would be his brilliance and wisdom. So the king travels from village to village and from city to city and from kingdom to Kingdom, challenging the inhabitants and the rulers with a task: to pass a string from one end to the other of a spiral seashell. everywhere the king went, the inhabitants and the rulers were confounded by this challenge. It seemed to them to be impossible, and none could devise a way to do it.

    Until one day, the King entered a kingdom with the same proclamation of the challenge and waited for a response as he always did. to his surprise, and ultimately to his delight, the king of that kingdom returned a response with the correct method. it was suggested to attach a string to an ant, put it into one end of the seashell, and put a drip of honey at the other end to entice the aunt that direction. king Minos knew that only one person could have advised that King was such a creative solution. he had discovered correctly that Daedalus was in that kingdom and serving as an advisor to that King.

    Typical of greek mythology, Daedalus great wisdom and innovation let him both to success and to destruction. the anecdote mentioned above is a good example. it was his brilliance that earned him a position as advisor to the king and the legendary respect as the when one person who could solve the riddle, yet it was also that brilliant solution that exposed him to the king who is trying to kill him.

    Another example is that his famous reputation for being so brilliant and such a skilled craftsman made him the one that King Minos sought to design a solution when the infamous Minotaur was wreaking havoc in the kingdom. The solution designed by Daedalus was an elaborate labyrinth into which the Minotaur would be imprisoned. but it was such a bewildering labyrinth that Daedalus almost could not find his own way out of it, and it became such a well known puzzle that the King imprisoned Daedalus and his son Icarus to protect the secret from being discovered.

    Lastly and most famously, or perhaps in famously, is the story of Daedalus flight. while a captive of the king, with no escape on land or by sea possible due to the Kings vigilant guard, Daedalus turned his attention to the birds. he watch them closely and analyze them, particularly this shape and structure of their wings and how they were used in flight. I have wondered what his son Icarus must have thought watching his father obsess over the birds and become preoccupied with something that must have seemed to Icarus to be a waste of time. but it was not madness or laziness for cowardice that turn this man’s mind from escape to birds. His mind was still on escape, and observing the birds would make that possible.


    While it is true Daedalus is a sad example of both sides of success, the rewards gained by it and the destruction that often comes with it, I gain some valuable insight from him about how to take flight as he did.

    Daedalus first observed the birds. then he began the long, tedious process of collecting feathers. after this extended period of waiting, he then began construction of the wings. perhaps there was even failure after failure before he finally made what he thought to be a viable finished product. and then there was the testing on himself, followed by practice to perfect his mastery of flying on these man made wings. then came the challenge of making wings customized for his son, and finally the challenge of teaching his son the art of flying.

    This man’s innovation is truly something to imitate. he was willing to look even to the birds for answers, able to see great potential in small things. he did not consign himself to captivity, but persistently devised plans of escape. his attention to detail and his willingness to be still and study first before jumping directly into action is something that I believe separates masters from failures. patience during that time of study and also during the crafting process also distinguishes masters from failures. it is probably during this time where most people wash out more than any other stage. The trial and error stage, though, is a disheartening one as well. eagerness for freedom makes each error and failure feel that much more devastating. but to those who endure, the solution eventually surfaces. And it requires humility, as well as tenacity, to admit the need for practice before launching out as a declared expert. then, and only then, has a person earned d right and the ability to help apply their expertise to other people. to help others find a similar solution customized to their particular circumstances, and to serve as a coach and teacher, require all these prerequisite steps that Daedalus models for us.

    Just as people love to point out that Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and sank into the stormy sea, ignoring the fact that it was miraculous enough for him to have stepped onto the sea in the first place, being the only other human in the history of the world besides Jesus to have walked on water, we could gain a great deal of insight by looking past the infamous tragedies that resulted from Daedalus innovations and brilliance to the fact that, by all these former steps, he escaped his captivity and flew to freedom.

  • South for the Winter

    South for the Winter


    Some environments are more amenable to growth and flourishing and health than others. some environments are downright toxic, a sort of tundra wear very little grows.

    Biologically speaking, this is true of different environments. Mountains that reach far into the sky will have what’s known as a tree line, of place where growth on a large scale, particularly of trees of any substantial size, is no longer possible beyond that point. The air is too thin, meaning there is not enough oxygen there to sustain a large tree.

    Another environment where very little grows would be something like the Dead Sea. this C gets its name from the fact that almost nothing lives in it. This is a case because of the exceptionally high salt content in the water. salt in those measures is not conducive to life or growth.

    Another environment that is not conducive to growth is one without adequate water. deserts with little precipitation are notoriously baron. there are, of course, certain animals and plants specifically suited to survive such a harsh, barren environment, but most plants and animals and people cannot survive there, and certainly cannot flourish there.

    Lastly, places of extreme cold tend to make life nearly impossible for plants and animals and people.

    Likewise, there are environments for people that are not conducive to flourish spiritually or mentally or or emotionally socially or professionally or financially. Like altitudes that are too high with oxygen that is too thin and barren deserts with too little rainfall, some families or workplaces or friend groups or churches or social settings deprive us of the love and support and encouragement and resources and training and mentoring needed for growth and life. there are workplaces where the expectations R exceedingly high but the support is exceedingly low. this is not conducive to progress. there are relationships where affection and love run thin or are non-existent, and the people involved cannot flourish without them. there are churches where the Spirit is absent and where the real meat of the word is replaced by cotton candy, and the people are wasting away from lack of nutrients.

    There are also environments that are toxic where growth cannot happen. Like the Dead Sea, some work places for social settings or relationships have within them something that makes life impossible. and abusive relationship, full of fear and intimidation, is a place where life and vibrancy cannot happen. Settings where sin and temptation and ungodliness are present in various measures will make growth and life practically impossible. a schedule that is overly full and overly busy also does not cultivate life. just as the sea is super saturated with salt, so a schedule that is super saturated with busyness will have the same effect.

    And then their environments that are frozen and hard and lacking in warmth.

    To deal with this, we may learn something from the birds. It’s a very simple lesson. when an environment turns to cold, birds migrate to where it is warmer. simple.

    But not simple to imitate. From the birds, we learn the benefit of being willing to change and/or relocate. this is difficult because, unlike birds who have no permanent homes, we establish ourselves and refuse to move unless absolutely necessary. This is true about careers, it is true about relationships even ones that are unhealthy, it is true about habits and hobbies and lifestyle. it is true about where we enjoy going and what we do with our time.

    When a bird notices a change in the weather, it is willing to make even hundreds of miles worth of changes, and as a result, it does not have to suffer through lifeless winters. neither do we. if we will be wise enough to notice when the weather has changed, and most specifically when things are not growing and life is not flourishing in certain areas of our lives or in our life in general, and if we will then be willing to make changes to move toward more amenable environment, we can enjoy growth and life while others suffer through lifeless winters.

    Disclaimer! this does not mean that we cut and run by divorcing our spouse just because we’ve lost that loving feeling or because we are going through a winter season! nor does it mean we jump from career to career everytime it loses its intrigued. this is not a lesson of avoidance, but of flexibility and initiative. We do not leave our marriage in search for a warmer relationship. we make changes to take our marriage to a warmer place of life and growth. We don’t necessarily leave our career just because it loses its interest. instead, we seek to add things to it that will refresh and bring new oxygen and new rainfall so that new growth can happen, such as further education or training can do or collaborating on a fresh new project.

    We would be wise to learn from the birds how to intentionally seek out the healthiest environments where we can grow to be everything we were made to be, and to be willing, like the birds, to make even drastic changes to relocate from environments of death and toxicity and lack of necessities two environments of life.

  • The Hawk Among the Chickens

    The Hawk Among the Chickens

    annaalkin jpg

    There once was a hawk born among chickens in a barnyard. Its AG had accidentally rolled from the nest into the barnyard near the chicken coop. when it hatched, the hawk saw only chickens. and so it is assumed this was its family, and that they were his kind. so naturally, he modeled himself off of the chickens. he taught himself to walk as they walked, a bit confused as to why it did not come as naturally to him as it did to the chickens. he ate what they ate, but again, he was confused as to why he did not have a natural enjoyment corn. He learned to speak their language, although he found he did not have the physical throat structures necessary for much of the vocabulary. he tried to preen himself to look as much like the chickens as possible, although it was undeniable to him and everyone else how very different he was shaped and colored. but one thing he did not learn from the chickens was how to fly. chickens have wings, but are for the most part grounded for life.

    Such was the hawk experience in life. As the months and years went on, the things that were left natural eventually became more natural. He could walk just like the other chickens. he could cluck many of their words. he developed a taste for corn. He was somewhat successful at flaring his feathers to look more like the rounded chickens. and he eventually got to wear he did not give a second thought to why he had wings.

    In addition to all this, he also became like the chicken by accepting the fate of a chicken. All the chickens new that day would sunday be chosen by the farmer to feed the farmers family. it, of course, was not something they look forward to, but it was something they simply accepted. The hawk, like all young chickens, was mortified early on to see the older chickens being taken behind the barn with the farmer who had the axe. but the older chickens had helped him to understand and come to terms with the fact that this eventually happens to all chickens. and so the hawk accepted that, one day, he to would be chosen by the farmer.

    One day, he saw a strange figure perched on top of a faraway barn. it was a bird of some kind, a majestic looking bird, but this is not what held his attention. He was captivated by the sight of the bird because something about the bird was strangely familiar.

    He decided he would go for a closer look. excitedly, he made his way across the lot where the chickens were kept. That excitement, however, soon turned to disappointment when he approached the edge of the lot and remembered that there was a wire fence to keep them contained. It was made of chicken wire, and reached a towering height of 4 or 5 feet. for a bird who is unable to fly, this fence might as well have been a 50 foot high prison wall. there was no way for this hawk to escape and learn more about the majestic, familiar bird on the faraway barn.

    For days, the hawk obsessed about nothing other than the bird he had seen on the barn. He was suddenly more aware of the fence then he ever had been, for in the past, he had never had a reason to want to leave the lot and never had a longing for anything beyond the barnyard. His depression deepened with each day he was confined and unable to approach the majestic bird.

    One day, while reluctantly eating corn, another thing he had become increasingly discontent with, hey dark shadow cross the ground. quickly turning his gaze upward, the hawk was astonished to see the majestic bird circling just overhead. the Hawk was all but paralyzed, unable to move or under any response. he just watched enviously as the bird floated effortlessly on its outstretched wings.

    As the hawk studied the majestic bird, he began to notice, to his bewilderment, that there were striking similarities between him and the bird. similar feather colors and markings, sounds similar to what the hak made before he learned how to cluck, and other things. The main differences, of course, where that the majestic bird could fly and he could not and that he was a chicken and the majestic bird was something else entirely, something far superior to a barnyard chicken.

    Without warning, the bird suddenly darted into A daring dive toward the ground. the hawk assumed the bird must have spotted some meal, which he was confident was not as boring were common as corn. but instead of darting to capture pray, the bird came to rest almost beat to beat with the hawk.

    To his surprise, the bird begin to speak to the hawk in a non chicken language, but a language that the hawk instinctively understood. The bird ask the hawk what he was doing among the chickens. the Hawk respectfully stated the obvious, that he was among the chickens because he was a chicken. the hawk then explained that he was not a chicken, but was in fact a hawk. That he was never intended to survive on corn but to be a skilled predator. that he was not meant to be preened and round, but sleek and strong. that he was not meant to cluck but to shatter the air with a fierce screech. And most importantly, that he was never meant to be confined to a single lot, grounded by a small wire fence, but to soar freely over a territory hundreds of miles wide.

    It took some convincing, but eventually the hawk trusted the bird and made his first flight over the fence beyond the barnyard where he belonged.

  • Why We All Need a Flying V

    Why We All Need a Flying V


    It is a well known fact that geese, and ducks, and possibly other birds, tend to fly in a V pattern. Like an arrow through the sky, they fly point-first. One bird is in the lead, and others fan out from there.

    Why is this? Is there any reason to this method?

    Studies have shown that there is great benefit to flying in this formation. birds are able to travel longer distances with less exhaustion even in adverse conditions such as flying against strong wind, due to the genius of this instinctive flying method.

    Without going into many of the very technical details, partly because I am NOT personally educated in many of the specific details, the simplest explanation for the benefit of this formation has to do with air draft. this is a very aerodynamic formation, and each duck or bird or goose benefits from the one immediately in front of it, in fact from all the birds in front of it. the point Bird and those immediately behind it cut down on the wind resistance for the birds behind. obviously, this is most exhausting for the birds in the front, so to compensate for that, the birds rotate. when the point bird has led to the point of exhaustion, it drops back to the very end of the line and all the other birds rotate forward with the second now becoming the lead bird.

    As I stated before, this allows birds to fly a much further distance with less exhaustion evenin adverse conditions such as high wind.

    Perhaps all of us need a V formation in our own journey through life. we have a long way to go, and life itself can be exhausting to endure, and this is complicated all the more buy seasons of adverse conditions. A person trying to navigate the migration of life, including the high winds, without a network or community of comrades faces the same perilous fate as a bird who tries to make the hundreds or thousands of miles migration on their own.

    American pride dictates a pull yourself up by your bootstraps heroism in which a person is compelled to succeed without help without reliance on anyone else. This is the glorified ideal of the self made man or woman.

    But this is not entirely realistic. actually, it may not be realistic at all. On the most basic level, people who are successful relied on people to acknowledge and accept their success or their product or whatever. As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. even the most competent person will get nowhere unless others to embrace what they have to offer.

    But it is just as universally true that every person has relied on others for their success in other ways. there are no true lone rangers. there are some who have acknowledged and sought out the help of others, and there are some who are in denial about their need for others, trying to work primarily independently, but people from all the riches of the spectrum rely on the help of others along the way. We rely on others for encouragement. We rely on others for resources. we rely on others for advice and counsel and feedback. We may rely on others expertise and/or experience.

    This self made ideal also impact people’s spiritual walk. Many believe that their relationship with God is strictly a personal thing, that it is no one else’s business and that they need no one but Jesus. But even God himself does not hold this view. Ecclesiastes  makes the case as strongly as anyone about the need for companions. and Hebrews chapter 10 counters the argument sunlight make about not needing a church family with the commands su continuously and faithfully connect with a faith community, and add that the reason is because the days are becoming more evil, implying that, as conditions worsen, companions are more vital. Unfortunately, as times become more chaotic and hectic and challenging, the trend is for people to withdraw into themselves. anecdote after anecdote and story after story recount the tragedies and hardships these people face because they have isolated themselves from the very community that could have helped them overcome.

    Thus, common sense, experience and observation, the Word of God, and the study of birds migration prove that all of us need a network or community of companions and comrades to endure the difficult journey of life.

  • Up in the Air

    What else can I say about birds? What more can I tell you when I have written out my thoughts? You should know that the eagle is the mascot of the university I have been attending. Birds played a central part in the marching band show I was a part of years ago. I also had a job at the zoo for a few months during which I was privileged to be able to feed and nurture little vulture, eagle and hawk chicks. That may have been one of my crowning moments in my life thus far. To hold something so small and helpless and know what it is going to be one day. Let me tell you that there is nothing like it. Not much compares though to the time we found abandoned baby chicks in our backyard while I was still in high school.

    Before this incident though there was another time that may be important to recount. When I was in middle school my dad found a bluejay nest with baby chicks in it once in a tree in our backyard. he decided that this would be a cool learning experience for all of us and while the parents were away he gently grabbed the nest and brought it to the back door. My siblings and I marveled at the tiny little peeping chicks. My dad made sure we did not touch them so we wouldn’t hurt them at all and so we would not scare off the parents by making their babies smell like humans. All of a sudden while we were still cooing over the tiny birds. A full grown bluejay flew up fast as lightening behind my dad and pecked him on the back of the head. In shock my dad whirled around, never dropping the babies. He quickly began to jog back to the tree to replace the nest but it was far enough to where the parents of the chicks (both of them) continually dive bombed my dad on his way. When my dad finally retreated inside and closed the door, we all started laughing. He looked at my mom and said, “Next time YOU get to go get the birds”.

    This experience was a tad different in that the babies we found did not have parents. Their nest had been knocked out of the tree by something and my sister found them lying on the ground under our swing set. We decided to put them back in the tree and monitor them to see if the parents came back, but they did not. We collectively decided to foster them and my mom, being a veterinarian would take them to her clinic the next day when she went into work. So we brought them in. There were four chicks in total but one had already passed away so we nursed the remaining three chicks, keeping them warm and safe and fed, with some fishing tackle my dad had laying around. The next day my mom took them into her clinic and they raised them their and released them into the wild a few weeks later when they were old enough to survive on their own.

  • An Amazing Thing

    As you can probably tell, I love birds. Adore them even. This may come as a surprise when I tell you that growing up, I hated birds. Detested them. I was so terrified of birds that I would shrink away from the window when flocks of them would fly over our car. This may seem silly. What are birds going to do to you? Well let me tell you what one did to me when I was little.

    When I was born, my mother had a pet parrot named Lester. This bird loved my mom, but he only loved her and no one else. He hated my dad and took to pecking him whenever he got a chance. Lester became especially protective when my dad would cuddle with my mom on the couch. Lester would fly over and perch himself in-between the two of them and peck my dads face until he moved. As you can probably assume, my dad was not too fond of this bird either, but they had rescued him from a past abusive home and he had latched onto my mom, so they really could not do anything else with him. My dad tolerated him because the man loves and cares about animals and more importantly, loves and cares about my mom.

    Everything changed a little bit when I was born. I am the oldest of three, but my parents waited eight years after getting married to start having kids (and even then I was a little bit of a surprise). When my mom brought me home from the hospital, Lester instantly saw me as a threat. He was constantly picking on me, and of course as an infant, I was practically defenseless. My parents tried to make it work. Bless their hearts, they really did. But they were forced to take action against this needy, clingy and borderline evil bird. They knew they could not keep him, especially if he was going to continually bully me. That just was not going to work. With a heavy heart my mom decided to give up the bird. She searched for a good home, preferably a single woman with no children and no other pets. I am dead serious that this bird was needy. She finally found one with someone she worked with who she knew would be good to the bird. Even though all of this happened in the first few months of my life, for some reason I retained my fear of birds well into adulthood. I would never go into the atrium at zoos where bird were free to roam around and perch on you or touch you or peck you. I was terrified of flocks of ducks and geese at the park. Although sometimes I still feel a little uncomfortable around birds, I much more admire them than fear them now. They are beauty to behold and incredible creatures from tiny finches to giant eagles. All of them are lucky to be winged and free. So you can see that I have come a long ways and now thoroughly enjoy being in the company of my fine feathered friends.

  • Birds of a Feather

    I find birds fascinating. I mean seriously fascinating. I love how they seem so carefree. They have the  freedom to fly high and escape gravity and the burdens of the world. They sing in the morning and fly around all day. Sometimes (okay a lot of the time) I find myself wishing I were a bird. I would get up early enough to see the sunrise and sing it into the sky. I would take off in search of food or maybe just to get the chance to see the world from high up above (they call it a bird’s eye view for a reason you know). I would love the chance to be so high, everyone else would look like ants. Just imagine leading a life like that. How carefree. How just plain old free. Sometimes being grounded on the Earth is just not fun. Why do you think people invented airplanes? Sure to travel faster and further, but do you think that if birds never existed, we would have gotten the idea for planes at all? Humans looked to the birds and thought I want to do that too. Why should we be limited and grounded when little birds can fly wherever they want. So men invented airplanes. Now we know what it feels like to be so high in the sky. To be above the clouds and look down on the rest of the world and barely be able to make out a car from a tree. If you have never flown, I pity you, I really do. It’s an experience that everyone should witness. The chance to be akin to our avian friends. I know people who are afraid of flying and that’s okay. Humans weren’t designed to leave the ground so I understand. But it’s hard not to catch the flying fever once your feet have left the ground. A famous quote I heard once went “For once you have tasted flight, you will walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward for there you have been and there you will long to return”.

    I absolutely adore that quote and I feel like that’s how I live. I love the Earth I really do but flying gives new perspective on things that may seem so huge and problems that seem too big to conquer. For some reason flying makes everything seem so petty and small and insignificant. Why worry about Earthly things when you are so high up in the sky that you can barely make out the rooftops of houses. Nothing seems so troublesome anymore. So, if you can’t tell, I’m pretty existential in my thinking and I love contemplating the world. Sometimes I will just sit outside for hours and ponder things. Most of the time it’s just random life happenstances but lately it’s been birds and sky and flight. That’s part of the reason I started this blog in the first place. Lately I just can’t get my head out of the clouds. Hopefully after reading some of these, you will contemplate for yourself and see whether you agree with me or not.