Why Don’t You Fly?

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.


Surrounded by the Spirit on Facebook

Photo credit: Turdus-migration, Slava-Bowman, Ben-Etienne, Frankie


44 thoughts on “Why Don’t You Fly?

  1. Hi Ceil!

    I love that visual image of being “grounded for the day” with the invitation to a friend to join me if they like for a cup of coffee at an outdoor cafe or on a park bench. I confess it will need to be that delightful sort of friend or companion who knows me so well they will be comfortable with my silence if it comes for longer than usual on such a day. That sort of friend loves me on days I am “grounded” as well as on days I am soaring. Not every friend is capable of both.

    Hope your weekend has been a great one! It has been 90 degrees here and I am eager for fall temps to start appearing

    Hugs, my friend!

    • Hi Pam! Oh yes, it’s crazy hot here too. We’ve had record-breaking heat here in the midwest. Ugh. I’m ready for fall!

      What a lovely point about friends who can just sit and ‘be’ with us in our quiet times. That is hard to do because many just want to fill the silence with…something. Often, just a friend’s presence is all the healing we need. Wouldn’t it be lovely to live closer, and have that quiet or chatty cup of coffee sometimes? Awesome!

      Have a peaceful evening,

  2. Ceil, thank you so much for this inspiring post, it really speaks to me now, especially since my apartment search has been tedious and at times discouraging. I really needed this today, God bless you.

    I laughed at your mention of some birds preferring to walk as opposed to flying. And yet some birds, such as the emu and ostrich, cannot fly, as they are too big. The photos and words in this post mean so much to me.

    • Hi Linda! You’re right, some birds are not meant to fly. Thank goodness we are meant to fly on our own paths in life!

      I’m glad you could use this message today. Not every day is a flight day, as much as we may want it to be. Getting used to being grounded will have it’s own blessings though. Time to rest, time to reflect. Time to ourselves.

      God bless your searching, may you find just what you’re looking for,

  3. Hi Ceil!
    Today, I must say that “grounded” sounds pretty amazing! For the last few days, I’ve been simply dragging, not sure what the root cause is but having some downtime and taking a nap is a winning plan.

    Another reason birds (and humans!) are grounded are clipped wings–literal and metaphorical. It’s terribly hard to “fly” when your “wings” are “clipped”. I remember a friend speaking what I think was a prophetic word (or perhaps a word of knowledge or word of wisdom) to me shortly before my mom passed away (2008). She stated, “Your wings are no longer clipped.” Even once “wings” are no longer clipped, it takes a LONG, LONG season of healing and strengthening just to be able to test out the “flying thing”. Sometimes “crashes” happen, which requires a time of rest to recover.

    Thanks for sharing this amazing post, Ceil!

    Have a blessed week!


    • Hi Kim! I think there’s a big similarity between ‘clipped’ and ‘weighted’. Certainly both examples mean we can’t fly right now. But I do think its important to remember that not flying now doesn’t mean we never will. It just means it takes time to rest. To regrow those wings, to cast off the weight.
      Oh yes, crashes happen, absolutely! Maybe that means I started out too soon? Rest is very undervalued in our society, but so needed!

      Have a peaceful night,

  4. Amen, Ceil! There is a time for every purpose under Heaven, isn’t there? I certainly have my days when flying is out of the question, but those days can be so good, too, for rest and reflection. Thanks for your wonderful analogy here today, my friend.

    • Hi Martha! I agree. Rest is such a good thing…but I can often feel like I don’t ‘deserve it’. Like moving = success. But that’s just not true. If it’s a day to stop, then that’s what it is, and why not enjoy it?

      I’m glad you liked the analogy. Those hopping birds are such a mystery to me!
      Have a peaceful night,

  5. Beautifully said Ceil. I always feel guilty when I say no I need to stay home because I’m tired and don’t want to fly. Great analogy. Thanks for sharing. God bless

    • Hi Leslie! Isn’t that always the way? We feel like we should have the strength of ten men, and always be ready for action. But the truth is we are all human, and need down-time too. It’s very understandable to feel guilty though, I feel that sometimes too. But it’s not necessary, because our fatigue is a sign, a sign that we need rest!

      So great to see you this weekend πŸ™‚ I hope you had a fun, relaxing time with your friends!

  6. What a good comparison! I’ve had my days of being grounded and days where I hop. Maybe this is a reminder to give myself grace on those days to avoid a crash.

    • Hi Mari! I think that’s a perfect assessment of the situation. Why try to fly if all I’ll do is crash? Of course it takes time to get used to the feelings of needing rest, and giving into that. It’s not weakness! It’s just another season of life.

      Thanks for visiting tonight!

  7. I do a lot of gardening and often see robins not far away from where I am digging, waiting for a feed of worms.

    I saw on TV birds sitting on the back of hippos or rhinos for a ride, rather than walk or fly. This happens around here as well when they perch on my head as I walk the streets to get a newspaper. The other day I took a nap in the park and a bird tried to nest in my beard.

    Is PB&J a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? I like peanut butter sandwich with raisins. I spread the PB and then place the raisins one by one on the slice of bread before covering it with another slice. I saw Colombo the detective do it on TV. I watch a lot of TV, me and the birds in our district.

    Great post today, Ceil. I like the photo of you giving a talk.

    God bless.

    • Hi Victor! I like raisins too, but would stick with the jelly on my sandwich I think. I used to watch Columbo too! Great show. Yes, PBJ is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

      Thank you for your encouragement on the post, and I’m glad you like the photo too. It was taken with a cellphone, but it’s still pretty clear. Amazing isn’t it? Now we don’t even really use cameras, we can snap away with our phones!

      Have a great day,

    • Thank you Pam, I appreciate your supportive comment. I think slowing down does the same for me too, and it also helps me to stay in the present. My monkey mind is used to jumping all over the place, and it’s so good to be able to settle in peace in the ‘right now’.

      Have a peaceful day!

    • Hi Sandi! There was a lot to think about on your blog too my friend!

      I hope today is a flying day for you, but if not, take advantage of the rest.

      God’s peace and blessings,

    • Hi Bill! Well, I just visited your blog, and it looks like you yearn for a grounding time. Have a wonderful time away with your wife! I agree, being grounded is just fine sometimes. God knows we need it!

      God’s peace and blessings,

  8. I identify with the idea of ‘being grounded.’ I have had a slight infection coupled with some bouts of insomnia that seem to have kept me down ‘for the count.’ I am trying to alter my evening habits to get away from the insomnia. Part of this could have been emotional. Thank God for being with me through all of this.

    • Oh my Cecelia, you are going through a hard time. I’m so sorry. I love to sleep, so when it’s interrupted, I don’t feel well. I hope you get to the bottom of the cause, but I’m glad that you recognize the infection side of it.
      Take the time to rest and be in peace. I hope God’s peace will be with you in abundance, helping you to overcome your emotions if they are the problem, and bring you to his comfort and care.
      I’ll be praying for you,

  9. I love this comparison, Ceil. And I love how you mentally “talk” to the birds. πŸ™‚ We so need those moments of rest and reflection, don’t we? Both in body and soul. I still feel guilty sometimes, but I’m learning that when we take better care of ourselves, we can better care for others. Blessings and hugs!

    • Hi Trudy! I know I do, that’s for sure. And I do think that rest is seen as weakness somehow, which is hard to understand. We all need it. And as you said, if we care for ourselves, we can care for others too. Love that.

      Blessings and hugs right back to you!

  10. Dear sweet lady, I LOVE the analogy here! Oh I may need to use this in one of our ladies bible study classes. PERFECT! Yes, there has been so MANY times in my life that I needed to be “grounded”. And sometimes it wasn’t necessarily the “grounding” as much as it was for me to give myself PERMISSION to be grounded if that makes sense. Amazing what we allow our minds to say to us! When I had the mini stroke late January of this year believe me the Lord was teaching me to slow down. I had to rearrange a lot of things in my life. I was “flying” way too much to be honest. Even well meaning things can cause us to get in a mess if we aren’t careful. Even church stuff. I realized that the things the Lord had truly called me to do I was somewhat “Hopping” through them. Once I gave myself permission and with a little (LOT) of help from a mini stroke and my family staying on my heels, I decided that I needed to be “grounded”. Yes, it’s a struggle at times because my personality is to do, do, do….help, mend, take care of and well, I think you get the idea. I am so much better than I was in that department but, I am learning that we as women can do anything…we just can’t do it all at one time! I have enjoyed this post so very much. It truly hit home with me today. Thank you for your words of wisdom and using such a wonderful analogy as this. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

    • Hi Cindy! I had no idea you had a ministroke, thank you for sharing that. I’m so glad that it wasn’t bigger, and that you have such a supportive and helpful family! Where would be without our families?

      I can’t imagine your struggle. I have a friend who is an absolute “Martha” as you describe yourself to be. Slowing down would be next to impossible for her, so I understand how you felt (well, a little anyway).

      Loved your line about women who can do everything, just not all at once. That’s wisdom my friend, and you have it. Thank you for your personal and thought-filled response to the post today. I really learned a lot from it myself, and I have a renewed respect for you and your wonderful family.

      God’s peace and blessings (and REST!),

  11. You know I have wondered the same things about birds, why not fly instead of walk. Must they must eat, look for worms, and worms are ground creatures so thus the bird must put feet on ground to gobble up the worm. Oh sometimes they get to snatch a bug in the air but usually they look to the ground for food. Maybe that is why we get grounded at times, need to be fed……………………

    • Hi Betty! Oh my gosh, I love your comment about being grounded and needing to be fed. I wish I’d thought of it, it’s perfect!

      Thank you for sharing your wisdom with everyone in your thoughts Betty. I do think you are right on the money with them!
      Have a peaceful night,

  12. I understand what you are saying… I’m in that ‘can’t fly’ place and I’ve just realised that I’m completely exhausted by trying to appear ‘normal’ when I’m face to face with people.

    I know we will never get over our son’s death, but after a time I think you are expected to move on, publically at least – and heaven forbid if you suddenly burst into tears completely out of the blue!

    Perhaps it’s all a balance… I just want to detach and rest and not join in with anyone’s celebrations, but on Saturday we have a 70th birthday party to go to. So, once again I will pretend to be flying when really all I can manage is a feeble hop! God Bless, Andrina

    • Dear Andrina, I know it takes years to adjust to loved ones death. You shouldn’t think it odd that you need to rest. I think anyone would in your position.

      I think you’re right about balance though, getting out now and again will most likely help, even though it seems so burdensome now. I’m glad you have such a wonderful husband with you to support you and care for you too.

      Hope that birthday party ends up being a fun experience! (Let me know, okay?)

  13. I love the point you draw from watching the birds, Ceil, and the photos you used to illustrate your post are perfect! It is so important to remember that we need those times of rest and refreshment- that they are what we need to enable us to “fly” at other times. Thanks for this encouragement!

    • Hi Lesley! Thank you for your supportive comment, I appreciate your chiming in on the photos. I do try to choose ones that match my theme.

      That’s what those hopping times are, rest and refreshment! Thank you for giving me those words of yours. Without rest, I could never muster the strength to fly as the Lord would want.

      Have a wonderful day!

  14. You are so right, my friend! Sometimes, we just can’t muster the energy required to fly, and we have to give in to the need to find a place of rest. I am learning as I get older that rest is not a luxury, but a necessity in my life. Thank you for the wonderful thoughts, as always. God bless you for all you do!

    • Thank you so much Cheryl. I agree that rest is no longer a luxury. I really notice it when I don’t get enough rest.

      May God bless you and yours in this time of sadness for the family. Know you will be in my prayers.

  15. Yep, there are some days to soar, and others to crawl. I usually find myself somewhere in the middle. And when I’m able to soar, well, great! And for those when crawling’s the best option, I ask for an extra helping of grace.

    Loved this post, Ceil. Love the grace you show …

    • Hi Linda! I’m sure you helped so many to fly in your counseling practice. No one has to tell you about hopping and flying!

      Thank you for your always supportive words my friend. Have a wonderful day,

    • Hi Lulu! Aren’t you sweet! Thank you so much, I missed being here too, but life was going to get busy. It’s great to be back.

      It stinks when you have a dragging day, right? I was so tired yesterday, so I get it. I hope tomorrow will be a flying day instead. Be kind to yourself my friend, you deserve it!

      So good to see you here πŸ™‚

  16. First, what lovely bird shots! And secondly, I feel so much better being grounded right now. It’s like your words gave me permission to be on the ground, and walking quite slowly I must say! Flying without all engines firing can have a crashing outcome, can’t it? Blessed by your words today! Thank you!

    • Hi Lynn! They are, but you know I didn’t take them. They are stock photos, but very good ones! Your bird shots would definitely compare.

      Oh yes, stay on the ground, especially because you know that’s where you belong now. Rest is a GOOD thing. I’m glad that you could relate to the post today.

      Have a peaceful and restful afternoon,

  17. Ceil, as always I love your words and message. The older I get, the more I honor this exhaustion! I used to feel guilty with every ‘no’ I would say- so I rarely said it.

    Not any more. I still feel terrible, and I often feel antsy and anxious- but I’ve learned what is good for me and what I need. Rest is restorative- I need a lot of it!

    • Hi Chris! It takes a long time to get used to the word ‘no’. I say that from experience. I can’t tell you how many times my plate overloaded and spilled. Not worth it at all, so much better to just take a rest when I need it.

      I need a lot of sleep too πŸ™‚
      God’s blessings and peace,

  18. “It’s awfully hard to fly when life keeps weighting down our wings.” Oh my, this is so true, Ceil. Between health challenges and the recent spate of hurricanes and their destruction in the Caribbean, I have felt so weighted down by life that flying has not even been on my radar. Grateful for friends and family who understand that sometimes, walking is more than enough for me!

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