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Ready for Take Off

Now is the acceptable time! Now is the day of salvation! ~2 Corinthians 6:2

Precocious children exert independence, often beyond what is considered acceptable or safe to the adults caring for them. The ornithological equivalent is the term, precocial, which describes birds that are able to walk and feed themselves almost immediately after hatching. Precocial birds are hard-wired for independence, they take care of themselves. Fowl evolved this way to keep chicks moving to escape predators (since there are more dangers on the ground than on a branch). Many shorebirds which nest in subarctic regions have use the independence of their young as a strategy for maximizing the rich but time-limited supply of yummy insects. Adult birds migrate as soon as possible, leaving the young more food. Southbound shorebirds funnel into ever increasing flocks, which begin with no immature birds, but ultimately consist of nearly exclusively birds of the year. These young ones are NOT following adult direction but tapping inner tools they are hatched with. Basically, they have an instinctual GPS.

Ironically, the more these birds dig into their own little world, the greater the drive to be part of the bigger world. Perhaps we should attempt to be more like them. Instead of trying to fence in our existence to only that which is comfortable and known, we might consider how our little worlds don’t exist in isolation. If we drill down far enough, we will find the creator waiting and smiling, ready to show us how our story fits the larger plot of history. The thrill of that discovery should be sufficient to face down the fear of the unknown big bad world “out there.”

At the same time, we need to be careful not to be caught up in navel gazing. Deep reflection is not meant to create withdrawal. We must learn to learn how the inward journey pushes us to outward adventure. Precocial birds know how to do that. They don’t spend time learning what they inherently already know, they start living right away and so they take wing and explore the grand horizon.

Prayer: Great Navigator, thank you for prompting us to get our noses out of the manual, trusting that we are ready for take off. Let’s go. Amen.


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