Last weekend I spent a couple of nights with my daughter. We slept together in her second story room which seemingly opens out on a bird sanctuary. From this level, all one sees are sky and tree branches bobbing under the weight of visiting birds. And the “music” that one wakes to in the morning – well, it takes me back to camping trips, to opening dream-fogged eyes in a room with fabric walls. In that room, little separates you from the early morning praise and conversation of birds (and beasts)!!
That first morning I woke early to the neighbor’s yapping dog, who felt it his duty to sound the alarm to all neighborhood dogs. In turn, the sleeping parakeet on the ledge of Lori’s picture window came alive and joined in the chorus. My daughter, accustomed to this morning anthem, dreamed on. I, on the other hand, lay there thinking, thinking and observing the little green bird beginning her day as usual. I watched while Bonnie hopped perch to perch inside her cage singing, and breaking only for a quick peck at the seeds placed for her in a tiny cup. At times she flew to the rim of her opened cage and stared at the birds playing tag in the trees. Then she hopped back down in her cage and attended to preening, eating, or singing. I thought to myself, she prefers life inside a cage – predictable, safe, her own private glassed in box seat with a view of all the action outdoors.
When my daughter stirred, I asked if she could move Bonnie into the adjoining bathroom so we could catch a few more winks. When she rose to do so and approached the cage, Bonnie panicked. She beat her wings frantically, exiting the cage and landing on the metal frame of the window. Hurriedly, we turned off the ceiling fan. Endeavoring to steer Bonnie to safety, my daughter motioned her towards the bathroom. Bonnie would have nothing to do with that idea. Searching desperately for refuge, Bonnie flew back into the cage and welcomed the replacement of the lid on her cage. All, including Bonnie, breathed a sigh of relief (for birds and girls alike fear the possibility of a bird getting tangled in tresses!)
Once settled back into bed, my daughter told me that for months Bonnie ventured only to the rim of her cage even though there was no ceiling to it. To this day, her flight lacks grace and fluidity. Although born to fly, she flies instinctively only as a means of escape from potential danger. She does not “yet” associate joy and unbound freedom with taking to the air. This raised a couple of questions in my mind. Do I, like Bonnie, choose to perch on the rim of an open cage though made to fly free? Do I realize the ramifications of God releasing me, opening the realm of the air to me? Am I practicing graceful flight? For effective flight does take practice and faith to leave the cage behind!!!
Still Learning to Fly In His Shadow,Terry
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