I looked down at the tarmac and saw about seven insects (they could have been flying ants) walking around, their wings folded carefully on their backs.
And I thought – you silly bugs, why are you walking if you have wings? And then that’s when God’s voice broke through (if you’re not comfortable with God speaking to people in the 21st Century, think of it as a sudden realisation, or my own brain working life stuff out, or communing with the universe – but you know what, they’re all Bollocks, cos I know God’s voice quite well and I know the difference between His thoughts and mine).
Anyway, the thought echoed around my head – “why are you walking if you have wings?” And God Poked and prodded that question around my head and whispered some things softly. Because, actually, there are a whole raft of reasons why you might have wings, but not fly. And they come in two categories – 1) Although you have the wings, you are physically unable to fly; 2) You choose not to fly.
Although you have the wings, you are physically unable to fly
Maybe these crazy bugs were sick, or injured – their nest poisoned? Perhaps. Maybe it was a natural thing, that they’d reached the end of their lifecycle and were simply too knackered to fly. There were a shedload of the little guys (or gals) so I first thought it had been a gassed out nest.
You know, sometimes in our lives, there is someone who goes out of their way to harm us. You all know who that someone is in your life – there may even be a few someones, and they cripple our ability to fly. Their deliberate cruelty sometimes damages us so much, we may never fly again. But sometimes, it may not be deliberate cruelty. What if it’s self defence, what if you were the threat, and they simply protected themselves? Does that make your pain less or your wings less broken or you less exhausted? Of Course not! But we can stay broken, or start walking. You see walking with your wings tucked in whilst you mend is the best way to help you mend. Walking with Friends beside you, Walking with your Maker beside you…. cos while you’re mending, you’ll be unsteady. But, just keep walking.
There are lots of creature that have wings but don’t fly, because at some point one of their ancestors figured there were alternatives to flying. And some of these things are, believe it or not, potentially cooler than flying. Like being one of the fastest runners in the animal Kingdom (Ostrich, Gold Medal to you!), or discovering the utter joy of swimming freely (Penguins, you rock!). Alternatively, some birds seemed to have given up on flying simply because they had no natural predators – although that became a problem when humans interfered with the equation (Dodo? Kiwi? I’m looking at YOU) – was it essentially laziness , that safety made them lazy? I don’t know -but I know we too can be lulled into a safe zone where we aren’t motivated or pushed to fly.
You choose not to fly
While I was watching what I thought was potentially sick bugs, lazy bugs or bonkers bugs, I then witnessed a whole flock of Swallows swooping over the car park and generally showing off how amazing they are (Swallows, along with Peregrins, are my all time favourite birds. They just look like they’re having so much fun). And you know, if my little bug friends had been flying, they’d have been Swallow lunch. So whatever actual reason they had for not flying it probably saved their lives. Maybe, just maybe, they’d had some sense that those beautiful predators were about. And so chosen, for the time being to stay on the ground, walking where they couldn’t be caught.
Or… – they were just following each other. I don’t want to fly if I’m the only one flying. I can almost guarantee you’ve all felt that moment, where you want to just lift yourself, to rise above and fulfill your true potential, but were afraid to leave those you love behind – not realising they too were yearning to fly. Maybe all it would take is for you to lead the way, and you would all do something pretty amazing together.
Or… there was no particular reason – one of the great blessings of God is choice, Free Will. To sometimes just wander on the ground, because we can.
And to choose not to fly is not necessarily a bad thing. If you’re speeding through life on your wings, imagine all the beauty you could potentially miss, imagine the friendships lost in the turbulence, imagine the moments with God you’ve skipped over. Our society is so concerned with speed and efficiency and availability in an instant – and there are times when speed and efficiency are quite right an proper – but it’s NOT all there is. There’s devotion, there’s faithfulness, there’s meticulousness, there’s steady, there’s beauty, there’s you and there’s me.
Why are you walking if you have wings?
Not all of you out there are walking. You’re flying, achieving, dreaming – Bless you! Perhaps you need to choose not to fly once in a while.
The rest of us – for whatever reason you’re not flying know this – if you’re Broken, God can mend – but more often than not he won’t. But He chose to walk with us when he could have flown, He was poisoned by those who hated, beaten, had his wings ripped off. And STILL Won. And He will walk next to you with your broken wing and be the answer you didn’t know you were looking for – And perhaps you’ll discover something more amazing than flying. If you’re choosing not to fly for the time being, caution is good, resting is good, taking in the wonder is good, but please don’t forget about your wings, you were made to fly.