The Chicken Eagle

A naturalist was visiting a farmer one day and was surprised to see a beautiful eagle in the farmerís chicken coop. "Why in the world,asked the naturalist, have you got this eagle living in with the chickens?"
"Well, answered the farmer, I found him when he was little and raised him in there with the chickens. He doesnít know any better, he thinks he is a chicken." The naturalist was dumbfounded. The eagle was pecking the grain and drinking from the watering can. The eagle kept his eyes on the ground and strutted around in circles, looking every inch a big, over-sized chicken. "Doesnít he ever try to spread his wings and fly out of there?" asked the naturalist. "No, said the farmer, and I doubt he ever will, he doesnít know what it means to fly."
"Well, said the naturalist, "let me take him out and do a few experiments with him." The farmer agrees, but assured the naturalist that he was wasting his time. The naturalist lifted the bird to the top of the chicken coop fence and said "Fly!" He pushed the reluctant bird off the fence and it fell to the ground in a pile of dusty feathers. Next, the undaunted researcher took the ruffled chicken/eagle to the farmerís hay loft and spread itís wings before tossing it high in the air with the command "FLY!" The frightened bird shrieked and fell ungraciously to the barn-yard where it resumed pecking the ground in search of itís dinner. The naturalist again picked up the eagle and decided to give it one more chance in a more appropriate environment, away from the bad examples of chicken lifestyle. He set the docile bird on the front seat of his pickup truck next to him and headed for the highest butte in the country. After a lengthy and sweaty climb to the crest of the butte with the bird tucked under his arm, he spoke gently to the goldenbird. "Friend, he said, you were born to soar. It is better that you die here today on the rocks below than live the rest of your life being a chicken in a pen, gawked at and out of your element." Having said these final words, he lifted the eagle up and once more commanded it to "FLY!" He tossed it out in space and this time, much to his relief, it opened itís seven-foot wingspan and flew gracefully into the sky. It slowly climbed in ever higher spirals, riding unseen thermals of hot air until it disappeared into the glare of the morning sun. The naturalist smiled and thought how happy he was with his days work. Like the eagle, he had for many years, let other people define his worth and direct his life for him. Like the eagle, it had taken a life and death situation for him to realize his self worth and real calling in life.
It took courage to change occupations in mid-life and face the disappointments of those who believed he couldnít possibly leave his accounting firm and be successful in the physically challenging occupation of a park ranger. But, just like the eagle, he had risen out of the abyss of self-doubt and stretched his soul toward new horizons. "Actually, mused the naturalist, I never doubted that beautiful bird - If I could do it, I knew he could too!"
The moral of the story, of course, is to not let other people define our self-worth or keep us under their limiting and oppressive influence. -Anonymously written. Edited and revised by Laura Martin-Buhler
Ed. Note: None of us want to find ourselves in this poor eagles predicament, but due to one reason or another, many of us fall through the cracks of life. Lacking a dream or a goal of self-actualization we wake up one day to find ourselves in a chicken pen surrounded with unsupportive and uncaring friends whoís only aim in life is finding the next juicy morsel to consume. Sometimes we are blinded by our companionís choices. The material morsels they choose to peck away at throughout life may be quite impressive and spectacular. They may include lavish homes, boats, vehicles, and other showy prestige symbols or they may seek more subtle morsels such as the honors of their peers or even the whole world for their good works and charity.
What type of chicken feed we chose for ourselves doesnít really matter for it will never make us truly happy or allow us to soar on wings of eagles.
We are all children of God with unimaginable potential. Heavenly Father knows our potential, for it is He that has given us our individual missions and the gifts needed to accomplish them. If we first seek the kingdom of God we are promised that all things shall be added. Therefore, it is our first responsibility to discover why we are here on earth and our ecological niche or place in which we were meant to soar.
Instead of gathering chicken feed in the form of material goods or the praise of men, perhaps we should stop walking in circles,look up from the watering can, and dare to dream and make our dreams come true. In the Book of Isaiah Ch. 41 vs. 30 & 31 the Lord says to man: Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men utterly fail: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
In these last days of disease, plague, chronic illness, fatigue, stress, bankruptcy, rootlessness, family disintegration or dysfunction, this promise that we might mount up like eagles should become more and more attractive to humanity, but like the eagle in the chicken pen, surrounded by companions with downcast eyes, most people lack the desire to discover their God-given abilities and talents.
Instead of exerting the least bit of faith to look up to their Creator, to learn and conform themselves to His laws, to experiment upon His promises, they would rather resign themselves to a miserable existence of eternal pecking at the chicken feed of life: Fame, a better car, a bigger house, a little more acknowledgment, a little more acceptance among their peers, at least a pat on the back for a job well done, another raise, cash benefit, church calling or recognition award.
To a kind, wise Heavenly Father our never ending needs for better, improved chicken feed must seem like a childís list addressed to Santa Claus.
As the eagle needed to be removed from the influence of his non-flying, non-soaring chicken companions, to look to the sky and his inner abilities in order to soar, so we, too, need to disregard the damaging or limiting influence of others, look up to our Creator and seek His counsel in our individual lives to become all that we were meant to be.
Most adults want to see our children and the youth we care about fulfill their potential and soar on wings of spiritual accomplishment. Many of us become frustrated and angry when they reject the high road and head out with others who appear to have lower standards. There will always be strong willed spirits who reject all forms of direction, even to their own detriment, but it is especially painful for us to stand by helplessly and watch our loved ones settle for chicken feed.
But what examples are we setting for those who will follow us? Are we truly happy with our own path in life? Do we ourselves soar with the eagles or our hearts set on the things of this world, the chicken feed, so to speak.
Like the naturalist who knew instinctively how to help the eagle, because he had lived a similar dismal life, we too, must first look to our own souls and find the true joy that is a sign that follows those who have attained spiritual enlightenment before we attempt to save others from themselves. As we, ourselves, soar on wings of eagles, our example will help those we love more than we can begin to imagine.

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