For those who grew up in the 60′s and 70′s the memory of Jonathan Livingston Seagull isn’t that distant. Let Wikipedia refresh us …
[ Jonathan Livingston Seagull, written by Richard Bach, is a fable in novella form about a seagull learning about life and flight, and a homily about self-perfection. It was first published in 1970 as “Jonathan Livingston Seagull — a story.” By the end of 1972, over a million copies were in print, Reader’s Digest had published a condensed version, and the book reached the top of the New York Times Best Seller list where it remained for 38 weeks. In 1972 and 1973 the book topped the Publishers Weekly list of bestselling novels in the United States. ] – from Wikipedia.com
I grew up on the West Coast of Florida, along the sugar white sandy shores of the Gulf of Mexico … no shortage of gulls there! In my photos, gulls are prominent rather than a lofty eagle or mighty hawks … gulls are ubiquitous with life near the beach.
Today, I live near the mountains of Southern California where I’m remembering those gulls – their gawking and squawking and bullying one another for a scrap of whatever could be stolen from beach visitors. They’re really a needy, greedy flock who would snatch from one another without hesitation! Still, when a gull takes flight, there is a certain beauty, even in these ill-mannered, self-absorbed birds. It’s easy to see where Richard Bach got his inspiration for the novella, Jonathan Livingston Seagull!
So, I’m asking myself, today, “Where’ya goin’?” Am I mulling around the shoreline, fighting for every scrap, or am I a bird in flight? What’s my perspective today … bound to the ground or sky high? In reality, I don’t imagine gulls in flight are really thinking heavenward; they’re looking down to find their next quick morsel and return to the motley crew along the shoreline. Maybe, in this life we’re caught between heaven and earth – it’s just the way it is!
As I start a new day and a new week, I’m aware that there must be a sense of flight in my own daring approach to the future. I must be “goin’” somewhere, or I’m just another dirty bird stuck on the shore until time is up!
My heart cries out, “Lord, lift me up and set me on a course that is life!” What does that look like? Don’t know – isn’t that part of the fun and adventure of it all?! How far dare I go from the familiar, and is it possible to think and act like a bird of a different feather?
“In You we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28)… from You, I draw life and breath … in You, my true life is headed and my true “self” is discovered! Lift me up, this day, from grabby ways and crabby attitudes. Help me to be more than I can be, alone. Free me from comparing myself to those around me. I press into that place of work and flight, and effort and rest, where you teach me better ways.
Whatever the outcomes of “today”, may I be a better person, because I have looked to You and trusted in your sustaining Presence in my life. Through You, I come to realize who I am. Amen.