Saturday, January 29, 2011

2 Secrets of the Wandering Albatross

Last night, my daughter wins a book about winged creatures at the school's Bingo Night.  We read all about butterflies, bats, hummingbirds, flying squirrels, bees, and ladybugs.  Then, I turn the page and learn about the magnificent Wandering Albatross.

I learn that the Wandering Albatross stays in flight for months without landing.  I stare, stunned at the page, as I consider the lonely, distant travels of this bird who never finds a secure place to land.  And even when she does, the awkward bird tumbles over her own feet, crash-landing into the others, and somersaulting several times before finally standing.

She prefers the flight to the landing.  

I have to check my facts this morning.  Is it true that this bird stays aloft for months?   How is this even possible?

I discover that the Wandering Albatross has the largest wingspan of any living bird.  I also uncover the bird's secret:  she knows how to sharply swing into air currents to let the wind blow her to great heights. She lets the wind do the work for her. 

As I consider the Wandering Albatross today, I realize how often it feels as if we wander--for months--unsure of where to land.  As lonely travelers, we struggle to stay aloft.  And we must.  Our survival depends upon our ability to soar in the midst of our wandering.  Sometimes, there's no land in sight.

You spread wide your arms, turn sharply into the wind, and you let it carry you to great heights.  I think about a life lived with God's power.  I think, too, about adversity being a stronger air current.  I throw myself against it, leaning hard against the Lord.  What a magnificent flight!

Journal:  When I feel like a Wandering Albatross, how can I widen my embrace and learn to use adversity to carry me to higher places emotionally and spiritually? How can I remember to see God as the air current that "does the work for me" today? 

(photo, "Wandering Albatross" from, by Lieutenant Elizabeth Crapo, NOAA Corps.  Photo taken in the Southern Ocean, Drake's Passage)

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