Friday, July 07, 2006

Wingin' It

We were "wingin' it," and we reminded ourselves of it constantly. We had spent all summer just trying to keep up, perfecting the art of "on the spot" thinking, constantly willing to sacrifice quality for immediacy. Changing with the wind, that's what we thought we meant by it. Then he had an epiphany: we couldn't be changing with the wind because we weren't flying at all. We weren't the ones with wings. We were UNDER wings.

Two men hiked up a mountain when they found an enormous flock of birds nesting at the top. When the birds became aware of the intruders, they instinctively took flight leaving behind hundreds of panicking babies - rolling and flopping and darting around looking for protection - and two mothers.

“Here they sat, their wings out like props, or more like gripping hands, as if they were trying to hold themselves down to the rocks against their wild desire to fly. And so they were, in truth, for under their extended wings I saw little black feet moving.”

“We took another step toward them, and one of the two birds sprang into the air, knocking her baby over with the stroke of her wing, and coming within an inch of hurling it across the rim to be battered on the ledges below. The other bird raised her wings to follow, then clapped them back over her baby. Fear is the most contagious thing in the world - and that flap of fear by the other bird thrilled her, too, but as she had withstood the stampede of the colony, so she caught herself again and held on.”

“She was now alone on the bare top of the rock, with ten thousand circling birds screaming to her in the air above, and with two men creeping up to her with a big black camera that clicked ominously. She let the multitude scream, and with threatening beak watched the two men come on. A motherless baby, spying her, ran down the rock squealing for his life. She spread a wing, put her bill behind him and shoved him quickly out of sight with her own baby...” (

Life came at us hard, and for a time it didn't seem to stop long enough for us to catch our breath, so we were finding ourselves moment by moment desperately scrambling to find rest under some wings. We felt smothered at times; we watched as others danced in the sunlight while we stayed in the shadows; we wanted to be strong enough to fly by ourselves, but oh! how much we needed those wings.

Wings that took me in as their own though I had no claim to them. Wings anchored to the rock, covering me no matter what approaches, no matter what reason says, no matter what the cost. Wings that protect me. Wings that let me rest. I'd rather be under those wings than on wings of my own.

At the end he said to me, “faith tends to whisper something about how that wing is only a feather.”

~Psalm 91:1-4
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadows of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Chase

This is the third time in the past hour. She wasn't looking for it, but she spotted it out of the corner of her eye, and immediately she dropped what she was doing and began the pursuit. With one arm stretched out in front of her and laughs that somehow only a four-year-old can make she weaves through trees and bushes, straining to reach the fluttering wings that are always just out of reach. When she falls, she winces for only a moment, then quickly jumps to her feet and resumes the chase. After it flies into the street or over the fence, she comes back, out of breath and grinning from ear to ear.

She says things like, "It was just a little too fast for me, huh?" or "It was too high for me to reach, wasn't it?" or "I was getting closer and closer to it, wasn't I?" One time I asked her, "What would you do with it if you had caught it?" Long pause. She said she'd put it in her room for people to see because it was so beautiful. It was obvious she had never thought of it like that before. She had never planned on actually catching it.

I go about my business, and there goes a butterfly. I focus harder. Another one. Oh, I didn't even notice that one. Again. Maybe next time.


I go about my business, and there goes a butterfly. I watch it, wishing I would chase it like I used to. But I know I won't catch it. I never did catch one. So I watch it. I admire it, but only from a distance. It's not my butterfly to chase.


I go about my buisness, and there goes a butterfly. I drop it all, and throw my whole being into the pursuit. Almost! I reach again. Not quite. Just...too...high. Frustrated, I jump for it, and when I come down empty-handed, I land wrong and fall. And stay. And cry. I failed.

What made us stop pursuing the things we know we can't catch? When did we start finding the chase worthless if our hands never actually hold the "butterflies"? How did we forget that the running and jumping and reaching were just as much a part of the chase as the display of the catch?

She's making another birthday party in the sandbox. Here comes one more pair of dizzy white wings. The birthday party gets put on hold. She's off.

Feeling less than Spirit-filled
I wish that I was healing from this deadly ill
that some call growing old.
Where's the love? Where's the chase?
Where's the wild leap of faith?
I wanted to be free. I wanted to be loved.
I wanted to be heard. I wanted to be Yours.
I wanted just to play with everything that's pure,
but everyone just said, "that's childlike."


"Live more playfully; believe more recklessly." ~C.J. Goellar