Have you noticed that some birds would rather walk than fly?
Well, maybe I should say ‘hop’. Driving down the street, I notice a robin staring me down from the pavement ten yards ahead. As I quickly approach, the bird starts hopping to the curb. I can’t help thinking, “Why don’t you fly?”
Later that day, out for a post-dinner stroll, a bird stands in the middle of the sidewalk in front of me. Suddenly, he turns and starts hopping like crazy, thinking he can outrun me or something? “Dude!”, I think, “Why don’t you fly?”
I’m sure there must be a biological reason for the hopping thing. Soaring through the air looks easy, but it must take a lot of energy and effort…maybe that robin in the road was just plain tired. Or hurt. Or conserving energy.
Ok. I get that. Sometimes, I don’t have the energy to fly either.
Have you ever turned down a Friday night invitation to go out with friends, because what you really wanted was a PB&J and a nap? A week of work, mixed with evening projects and volunteering, has snatched away your last ounce of energy. Maybe your friends won’t understand why you can’t blast yourself off the couch, but you know. It’s what you need to recover your strength.
And it’s not only physical exhaustion that can slow us down to a crawl (or hop…). Being emotionally hurt also vaporizes strength. People around us hurt feelings and slam hearts with even the smallest of criticisms or slights. Ugh. It’s awfully hard to fly when life keeps weighting down our wings.
There’s a time and a place for everything; there’s a time to fly and a time to walk. And ‘walk time’ doesn’t mean it’s impossible to fly anymore. It just means that for now, we need some rest. Our bodies and souls sing quietly in harmony: “Not now. Rest. Be at peace.”
If I try to take off now, I might not have the stamina. Rest might feel indulgent or selfish, but believe me, it isn’t. Sometimes, being grounded is the most important place to be.
Maybe you’re at a place in life where flying seems impossible. Whether you’re tired, hurt or waiting for the next great thing to come along, you know for now, the ground is going to be your primary mode of transportation. People might ask you, “Why don’t you fly?” Just be patient with them, and don’t let those words push you to do anything before you’re ready.
Just tell them that you’re officially grounded for the day. Maybe they’d like to join you? You might invite them to slow down too. Why not grab a coffee at the outdoor cafe, or sit on a park bench together and enjoy the breeze?
No flying today. But who knows? Maybe tomorrow you’ll be soaring again among the clouds. That sounds so good.
But you know, for today…grounded sounds perfect too.
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Photo credit: Turdus-migration, Slava-Bowman, Ben-Etienne, Frankie