“A man found an eagle’s egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them. All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air.
Years passed. The eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat on his strong golden wings. The old eagle looked up in awe. “Who’s that?” he asked. “That’s the eagle, king of the birds,” said his neighbor. “He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth. We’re chickens.” So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that’s what he thought he was.”
Anthony de Mello (Song of the Bird)
I ran across this parable over ten years ago and found myself yearning to know the person God intended me to be, not the person I had settled for. A lot has happened since then. In the past ten years, my life has taken many turns and challenges and seen some satisfying victories. I have successfully “launched” my three kids into adulthood, and we have transitioned to the empty nest quite well. Whether I was a chicken or an eagle, I am not sure. Occasionally, I was both at the same time. However, the world needs chickens and the world needs eagles, so it doesn’t bother me as much. I know God has a plan bigger than what I can dream and more importantly, it isn’t about me at all. I have the privilege of living with God-given joy each day, whether I soar or scratch the dirt. Life is good.