Tanara McCauley

Culturally Imagined Stories

Too Fat to Fly

But those who wait on the Lord…they shall mount up with wings like eagles.

The other morning I pulled up to my driveway and encountered the fattest pigeon I’ve ever laid eyes on. After the initial shock of seeing its size, I wanted to see it move out of my parking spot.

I approached, fully expecting it to get a running start then take flight just like any other pigeon would. But as I neared–even after honking–that pigeon stayed on the slow track to nowhere.

It made an effort of course. One leg seemed intent on accumulating speed, the other on just bearing the weight. The plump figure shook and waddled its version of a run–improvisation at its finest.

It had me captivated. I watched its sketchy shuffle until it FINALLY backed into a corner by the gate. The feathers around its neck were spiked in a show of fear as it waited, presumably to see if I would act.

I only shook my head then parked in the garage.

I couldn’t judge the obese bird, because it occurred to me that a lot of times our spiritual lives can take on the same shape. I know mine sometimes can.

We live in a world of too-much-on-the-plate, and often feast on that which is least beneficial.

While the things Jesus provides are enough, we continue on down the buffet line and add to our platters the delicacies of excess. A helping of recognition, a dollop of people’s approval, a double scoop of wealth and success. How about a chunk of control? Or a leg of perpetual leisure?

Before we know it, our indulgent diets become spiritual weights. Our eagle status gets downgraded to pudgy pigeon.

And like that bird, we’re rendered trembling and inactive in the face of fear; unable to fly, lacking in faith. Not to mention the effects on our obedience and the fruit we’re called to bear.

And yet…there is the Lord and His mercy.

Had my husband found that pigeon, this might’ve been the bird’s eulogy. But because I found it, it lived to waddle another day. I doubt it’ll rush to shed pounds so that–when it’s threatened in the future–it can fly away. But it has the opportunity.

Likewise, with each new day, we have another chance to get our spiritual lives off the ground. It’s just a matter of choosing what stays and what goes, and of making sure the stuff that stays is the stuff that keeps our souls lifted up to Jesus.

4 responses to “Too Fat to Fly”

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