Soar, land, and sway
Originally appeared on spirituality.com
One snowy, very cold day I set out on a walk, and after a while, I sat down on the edge of the bluffs of the Mississippi River to enjoy a few minutes of prayerful time. As I sat there, it was easy to feel a bit agitated. The wind was blowing all of my stuff around, it was snowing on my glasses – ugh, I really don’t care for cold weather! And it was so cold.
But I was watching a few eagles, and I saw them using the wind to help them soar. They weren’t dreading the wind or beaten down by it – they were soaring with it.
I love a description of wind in Science and Health as “that which indicates the might of omnipotence and the movements of God’s spiritual government, encompassing all things” (p. 597). I realized we can all soar when the winds of life kick up.
I imagined the birds living and loving the perspective from up high. Maybe, I thought, they are so immersed in the flying that it’s not a struggle for them to tilt and move to catch the wind the right way, and they continue to soar.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany p. 131, “may thought soar and Soul be.” This is it! We soar in thought, so there is no circumstance that could ever hold us down.
That’s how I found a beautiful peace on that cold, windy day – in thought. My goal since that morning has been to soar with peace among the gustiest mental winds. And just how do I apply this to my life?
I’ve been a volleyball coach for 24 years, but I feel like a brand-new coach every single year. I prepare as best I know how, and then life happens. And ultimately how “well” I have prepared is only half of what it’s all about. The other half? Well, it seems to be how well I respond and refocus to what happens on a daily basis.
I used to get a bit mad when all these unplanned things crept on the scene of my “well-prepared” season—not exactly “soaring” with the wind! Now I get it, though. This is what makes volleyball so relevant to life. We get daily opportunities to respond and refocus, and we can practice turning to God first. As a new season begins, I pray my players and I can see the beauty, peace, and healing that result from unity with God.
There was one more thing I thought about on that windy morning. It’s cool to watch soaring birds, but they have to land somewhere eventually, right? I was wondering what they feel as they soar. I bet they aren’t worrying if each branch is big enough to hold them or if they can make it all the way to that next tree. They know they were built to fly. When it’s time to land, they just do it.
That same cold morning, I watched a huge eagle land on a very small branch. Maybe he wasn’t wondering if it would hold him, but I was. As the eagle landed, the branch started swaying big time. The eagle didn’t freak out though; he just swayed with the branch.
Wow! Now that’s a lesson I wanted to learn. I want to rejoice in the “sway,” finding greater rhythm in life! In her Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896 Mrs. Eddy said that the divine Mind, or Principle, is “holding man forever in the rhythmic round of unfolding bliss” (p. 83).
I watched the eagle leave the branch. I’m pretty sure an eagle can’t perch on a tree indefinitely, because they’re meant to soar. So are we. Sometimes it might seem like a lot of work to get off that branch and up into soaring territory time and again. But when taking off into the unknown, the challenging, the uncomfortable, seems to be the last thing we want to do, we have to remember that God created us to soar. And we are the exact reflection of His perfection.
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Science and Health