Even High Fliers Sometimes Need Propping Up to Keep Soaring!
Some people en-route to sites far and wide will most likely encounter severe conditions
I hope you had a great day. Today was one of those rare days where I could write a new article on gratitude during the day. There's been much late-night writing in the past three weeks. I'm grateful for the opportunity to breathe and focus on one thing at a time. In other words, today was writing the only day; no distractions, no other programmes.
Ever since I embarked on the gratitude journey, I've been going with the flow, usually writing in the evening as a way of reflection. Because today was content creation day, I started brainstorming as soon as I got up. I knew what I wanted to write about before I decided to check Facebook quickly. There it was, more inspiration to fuel today's post. I was thrilled.
When the Mighty Fall
One of my friends whom I've branded worthy of following because she generally posts items that I find pretty engaging (thanks, Ann!) had shared a Facebook post which had been published in April 2019 by JJ's Pamper Time. It was a picture of someone holding a swift in their hand, accompanied by this message: "Hi, everyone. This little chap is a Swift. They have just got back, having flown 1000s of miles, and sometimes they can end up on the ground squeaking. They are not hurt; it's just they spend their entire life on the wing. If they end up on the floor, they can't get airborne again. So, if you see one grounded, pick it up and help it up into the air again. This one is up into the air again now and happily screeching away in the sky with its pals. I do like a happy ending."
Flying High Inspiration
Today, I am thankful for all the people who lifted me up when I lost my way. May I quickly mention that I do find much real-life inspiration from planes and birds? In case you're wondering, I managed to interview pilot and glean real-life inspiration as we journey through life. Also covered V formation in great detail. When I found a post about a swift, I found it quite intriguing. I've started learning about birds, although I have mainly focused on the visits we get in our garden. As a result, I now understand a little more about the common birds we see in most UK gardens. I've bought an RSPB Guide to British Birds and a Bird Watching Log Book, where one can record information such as location, birds name, features, birds actions, habitat and observer's actions. I haven't been very good with the logbook, but not a day goes by without me noticing birds, some of which I'm yet to know about. I take photos whenever I can and hope to propel my newly found hobby to another level someday.
Airborne to Grounded
However, there it was, a little swift looking hopeless in someone's hand, needing help to get up and go. I'm so grateful for humans like that, people who do whatever they can to help stranded wildlife. In other places, it would have been a completely different story for the bird. It reminded me of a short story I once penned about finding yourself in strange places after falling from the sky, being rescued, nursed, and rehabilitated so you can find the strength to fly again.
You see, some people en-route to sites far and wide will most likely encounter severe conditions. Some will manage to sail through; some will take a hard knock and fall to the ground. There are unfortunate circumstances capable of bringing people down in life, no matter how well-designed or equipped they are. An accident, illness, destructive relationship, bad decision making, unforeseen circumstances beyond a person's control and many more can potentially bring down someone destined for greater heights.
Dr Seuss famously wrote:
Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you - Dr. Seuss
You see, being a high-flier is no guarantee that everything will be plain sailing. Sometimes things happen, and when they happen, you have to get up again. Even the skilful fall, so don't be ashamed if and when it happens to you. Aiming for the skies again sometimes depends on who you come across when you hit rock bottom. If you look closely at the picture of the 'helpless' swift by JJ's Pamper Time, you could potentially see nothing but a weak bird. However, the swift is no ordinary bird. It has endured a lot, been places and will potentially go further, yet at that moment, someone found it on the ground. In a bid to make sense of this story, I looked online to see what swifts are capable of.
From Soaring to Being In a Slump
According to LivingWithBirds.com, here are 5 of 21 interesting facts about swifts:
Swifts spend just three months of the year in Britain, arriving in early May and leaving in early August. This is a shorter period than any of our breeding birds other than the cuckoo.
They spend their winters well south of the Sahara: British-ringed birds have been recovered in the Congo Basin, Malawi, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa.
Swifts are creatures of the air: they roost on the wing and are not thought to land between one breeding season and the next.
Such an aerial lifestyle means that they even mate on the wing.
Young swifts can survive without food for up to 48 hours, lapsing into a semi-torpid state.
Any other person who doesn't understand the journey or nature of such a bird would probably treat it according to their way of seeing things. The person who found the swift appreciated how the bird operates and how they could help it to fly back again. How many times have we let people who don't know anything about our journeys determine how far we can go in life? A limited perspective by helpers can potentially derail a trip for good.
Another person might notice that it's a rare bird and feel compelled to cage it for their pleasure. In the end, we'd end up with a bird that is not only trapped but utterly confused because it's being asked to do what it was not created to do. As confined as the little bird might be, the rescuer might even feel like he or she is doing the bird a favour and possibly go as far as complaining about the lazy bird failing to live up to their expectations. How can a trapped soul soar to great heights?
Grateful for Helpful Heroes
What I'm trying to say is that in life, there are heroes who know what to do when they come across others who would have fallen off the skies. They know that even the mighty can fall, even though they have places to go. They understand that had it not been for an unfortunate event in their life, that person would have been soaring. They don't gather other 'watchers' to congregate around the poor bird, pointing fingers, mocking it about how they thought it would fly high, but now, "you're one of us!"
They don't devise devious plans to trap the bird to do what they feel the bird should do for them and expect to be thanked for the favour. They don't burden the free bird with requirements if it finds the strength and courage to fly back into the skies again. They nurse the bird back to health and seek help from other helpers if they have to. They know that if the bird has to spend time on the ground, it will only be because it needs to be rehabilitated before releasing it back into the skies.
I am one lucky person who has come across such people who saw the swift in me, not a caging candidate. Some of the people you know could have been going places, but they fell from grace because of many twists and turns. I hope you won't be one of those individuals who find joy out of the fact that someone else is struggling to get to their destiny. I've heard quite a few statements from people who celebrate the fact that someone is now grounded, boasting about the fact that "we're now in the same boat."
If you're one such bird being surrounded by jeers and finger-pointing, do all you can to remove yourself from such a toxic environment. The longer you stay there, the more you'll get used to feeding off the ground when you're created to perform wonders up in the air. You might even notice that as much as they say you're now one of them, they'll be trying to be like you or even outdo you. Get up and go, even if it means trying over and over again. Isn't it sad that some people get their highs from the fact that other people's level of potential has now been diminished and use it as a benchmark for their progress?
As for me, I am taking a moment to appreciate a few heroes who rescued me. They saw the best during my worst moments. They scanned the future and encouraged me to focus on where I wanted to be, not the place where I hit rock bottom. Their perspective helped me to leave a place that was so restrictive and debilitating. They encouraged me to aim for the stars when all I could see was a hopeless situation. Not only that, I was allowing others to pluck my feathers and clip my wings in the hope that other birds would accept me. I just wanted to fit in, even if it meant denying who I was.
May I encourage you to take a moment and be thankful for all the people you know that you and your dreams would have perished if it weren't for them? These are the people who still saw the best in you and chose not to define you by your current situation. They didn't mock you for failing to live up to expectations and understood just how much you couldn't wait to get up again and soar. They didn't even go around taking credit for helping you. They will probably tell you that they were doing their job or treating you the way they would have liked to be treated had they been in a similar predicament. They will probably tell you that they knew you had already had everything built-in to fly high. They will say they just helped you find your strength by propping you up. If you fly and somehow fail to come back again, they will still rejoice that you're finally doing what God created you to do. It was not about them; it's about you.
Today, I will write a heartfelt letter to one of my helpful heroes. There will be tears (I'm crying already), and I don't even know how they will respond. However, I will do it as part of my Gratitude Challenge. Why don't you surprise someone, and write them a letter sometime soon? If you can't write a letter, call them, send a message, anything to let them know that you appreciate what they did when you took a tumble. Your hero would much love it.
I hope you can keep flying!
I'm also grateful to JJ's Pamper Time on Facebook for sharing the real-life story and inspiring many in the process.