November 7

Wings

November 7, 2006

Personal Growth

Accompany me on a journey and a fantasy. We’re going by foot, and initially the walk is pleasant and easy. We’re walking on flat terrain with soft grass under our feet.

Gradually, however, the ground begins to rise, making it a little harder to walk, and the soft grass disappears, replaced by hard-packed dirt and an increasing number of rocks that sometimes we can avoid and at others times must simply walk on. The wind begins to blow, at first gently now and again, but gradually with greater velocity and consistency, and always in our faces, making our progress steadily more difficult.

This is the fantasy part. As you walk, I tell you that each time you raise your arms such that your palms face the wind, you’ll grow wings. That’s an irresistible notion, so you try it, and sure enough, the first time you raise your arms you experience a tingling sensation accompanied by the slightest broadening of your arms and the appearance of a tiny growth of down on your fingers. Encouraged, you try it again, and the growth continues. This is fascinating to watch, but at this point your wings haven’t fully developed, so with each bit of growth, your arms only become wider and a bit more feathered, which causes them to catch more of the wind and make it considerably more difficult for you to walk or hold your arms up. Your arms are increasing your resistance to the wind and making your life harder.

So, understandably, you quit raising your arms and continue walking up the slope, whose incline gradually increases. The rocks become larger too, so you must alternate between vigorous walking and climbing up and around the rocks. Periodically you raise your arms to the wind, but it’s becoming harder and harder to do that.

It seems that the path is becoming impossibly difficult, but still you press on, and still you keep raising your arms, even though at times it seems that the wind is blowing you backward faster than you can press forward. Finally, standing on top of a boulder that is blocking your path, you raise your arms in frustration, screaming at the sky. At that moment, you are lifted entirely off the rock, off the mountain, and high into the sky. Now you can see it all: the mountain; the ranges of other mountains; the valley where you began your journey; lakes, rivers, and plains as far as the eye can see, sights that were invisible to you while climbing on the path in the shadow of the single mountain and the boulders where you were climbing.

For such a long time you resented the weight and the increased resistance created by the growing wings. They seemed like nothing but a burden, but you persisted until the day your wings matured into the aerodynamic miracles that wings were meant to be. And then the resistance disappeared. More than that, your wings became the means by which you could move to another plane entirely, a power by which everything you had done previously was made to look ponderous and slow by comparison.

And so it is in our daily lives. We persist in slowly plodding up the same paths, day after day, with the way seeming to become more difficult all the time. And then we learn about Real Love, a way to fly instead of crawling on the ground. But it takes time to develop these wings, and sometimes in the beginning they actually seem to make things harder. But if we persist, motivated in part by remembering that without wings the way will always be miserable and endless, our wings continue to grow. And just when we think they’ll never help us, we raise our arms and lift into the sky. Like eagles we rise on our wings, leaving behind us all our weariness, and oh, what a feeling! Oh, what a reward for all the sacrifices and the waiting.

Real Love book

Learn to fly instead of crawl on the ground.

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