The mocking and laughter ensued after Pip, a small red bird, had attempted to fly to a branch in the tree but instead crash landed on the ground. The other birds kept telling Pip that birds simply do not fly. You see, on this particular island, all the birds lived on the ground where they laid around and relaxed eating the rotten fruit that fell from the trees. They led a carefree life on this very small island and were content. Well, all the birds except one. Her name was Pip. She felt there was something more to life than eating rotten, squishy fruit that fell from the trees and being confined to such a small space.
One night as she was stargazing, she noticed a firefly flying in the air. She observed the insect and wondered if she could also fly. Over the course of the next few days Pip experimented with different techniques that might launch her into flight. From jumping to bouncing to slingshots and a myriad of other techniques, they all ended in a disastrous thump or crash on the ground. Crashing was bad enough, but that sound was not the last she heard. Surrounding her was her family and friends laughing and ridiculing her saying that birds simply do not fly. Nevertheless, she did not give up a continued to persevere.
After being battered, bruised and physically exhausted, she was on the verge of giving up. She decided to give it one last go. She took what she learned and applied all that knowledge for a new creative approach. This time to her surprise and those around, she found herself sitting upon the top of the branch next to beautiful fruit that was firm and sweet. The other birds just looked at her in amazement. As the story begins to wrap up, I was amazed at what Pip did next. Despite what all the other birds had done or said to her, she still taught them all how to fly to experience this new existence of new foods, new perspectives, and new freedoms.
Whoever Heard of A Flying Bird? is a children’s book by David Cunliffe. My son likes the book because he thinks it’s funny with all the silly ways she tries to get airborne, but I am fond of the book because it shows what wonders and blessings can occur when we listen to that inner voice that’s calling us to something greater.
As Christmas approaches, I think of a time before the Christ event. Jesus was born into this world and humanity was able to know God from a very human experience. Through that encounter, we were able to glean information on how to live, how to relate to others, and ways to reflect God’s light and love in this world. Because of this, we are given the opportunity to experience this world in incredible ways and discover the wonder of creation and all that is in it.
Unlike the birds on the island, they did not know how to fly and thus did not elect to choose to be grounded. We, on the other hand, know the joys of life and who we can become as a result of Jesus’ ministries on this earth, yet for many, this is not a priority to explore or engage. We allow our energies to be focused on things that are fleeting and on lesser values. It is like learning to fly and discovering that we have wings that can take us anywhere and then deciding not to use them because we’ve been there and done that.
I hope this Christmas season that more people take the time to examine their lives and who they want to become so that through this awareness, touchstones, goals, and milestones can be created to evaluate our desires. I hope 2022 is the year that you can take time to pay attention to your inner voice to see how God might be calling you to grow, change, or transform the world around you. Finding that peace that passes all understanding is hard to comprehend or describe, but when it is felt, it is an amazing place to exist and connect to others. I hope this coming year is filled with many blessing for you and those you love.
I am looking forward to Christmas and the New Year. I know that as we get started with our routines in January that summer camps will be here before we know it. For so many, summer camps are an opportunity to try new things, explore God’s calling in their lives, and discover what it means to live in this world where we “learn to fly” as a result of God’s calling.
I hope that our paths cross soon. I would love to see you at one of the events at Slumber Falls Camp or even as a camper or counselor this coming summer. I am also interested in any children’s books that you have read that have spoken to you and shaped your life. Blessings and peace upon you during these Advent and Christmas seasons and into the New Year.