Flight

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I was 22, standing on a beach in Ghana, West Africa, commenting how conflicted my heart felt as I prepared to travel home to Calgary, Canada. All these years later the details of this conversation have glazed over in my mind, with the exception of what was said next.

“We have this saying,” the man said softly. “Even birds must return to land.” I’m not sure what, if anything, I said back. I seem to remember him smiling.

I delighted in those words: claimed them as words for my transition season. I tucked them into my heart and carried them 4000km home with me. The words stirred that Fall as I settled back into life in Calgary, and set forth that Spring as I prepared to go overseas again. They were words for my season I thought: picturing myself as a bird in flight.

Five years later I was sitting on my porch in Calgary. My body was sick, and the doctors didn’t fully understand why, so I’d been sent away from work: told to rest. In these days I was surrounded by friends and family but feeling very alone. And yet somehow, in all of this, I was also discovering joy.

Even birds,” I realized, wasn’t simply a theme for a season but for my seasons. It’s the phrase I’ve reflected on as I’ve wrestled through young adulthood, allowed my plans for life to fall apart, and begun dreaming again.”

Watching the wind rustle through the trees by my porch, I found myself still wondering about those same words. For the first time in many years I’d allowed myself to return to land, to find stillness, and rest. “Even birds,” I realized, wasn’t simply a theme for a season but for my seasons. It’s the phrase I’ve reflected on as I’ve wrestled through young adulthood, allowed my plans for life to fall apart, and begun dreaming again.

Even Birds is my story. It’s a story of life in the in-betweens, the migrations, the landings, and finding identity when things feel like they’ve fallen apart. That girl on the beach thought she had life figured out, but if only she’d known. And I have the sense, this is just the beginning of more “if only I’d known” moments in life.

Take flight with me.

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