Eagle or Chicken?
"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." ―Albert Einstein
This morning, while driving across the Huguenot Bridge, I saw an eagle. It flew right over me, quite low in the sky due to the weight of its prey in its talons. I have never seen an eagle up close and personal like that before. I had heard we had eagles around here and there was no mistaking its white, bald head. It was an awesome sight.
It reminded me of a story that I used to keep on my office wall years ago. It's a story told by Anthony DeMello and one well worth repeating.
A man found an eagle's egg and put it in the nest of a barnyard hen. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them. All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air.
Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings. The old eagle looked up in awe. "Who's that?" he asked. "That's the eagle, the king of the birds," said his neighbor. "He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth we're chickens."
So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that's what he thought he was.
In our quiet time together this morning, my husband reminded me of something he once heard The Rev. William Sloane Coffin say during a lecture at Yale. "The question," he said, "is who do you need to tell you who you are?"
"When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor." -Psalm 8:3-5