I love flying!
I couldn’t help but feel impressed by the takeoff. I have a peculiar, indeed, somewhat unusual, fascination about aircraft…the domestic, not the war type. Flying holds a place in my heart and it’s in this space I can create better, rest pretty well and dream and think more prolifically than most places on Earth.
Ever since I flew as a flight attendant with Qantas in and out of Australia, I have enjoyed the times that I am able to sit and experience the beauty of flight. The escape into the skies of these mere mortal bodies as we partake, albeit briefly, of the joy of seeing the Earth from God’s airspace is a constant charge… an adrenalin rush to me! Perhaps I should have been an astronaut. Or a bird of flight!
As the captain interrupts my train of thought with his usual informative patter via the PA, we quickly cover the miles of our journey towards Dallas. Today we stop briefly there, then on towards Los Angeles. This mammoth day marks the close of our trip to the USA. I turn my thoughts to home, and family. Thoughts of our grown up kids there. My little black dog, dear thing. Our house in the most beautiful valley in the world.
And then comes the jolt as I remember that home will not be the same anymore. Ever. It will be in some ways empty, because the last one of our kids who has just recently ‘flown the nest’ in order to begin expanding her world, has left.
She has settled , for who knows how long, in the great world city of Los Angeles.
No, home won’t be the same now.
I can hardly allow myself to entertain the thoughts that want to crowd and crumble my heart. The empty bedroom; her precious little childhood things that sit gathered and packed in a corner.
I wasn’t there when she left the nest. Her father and I were away on this trip. So for us, goodbye comes in the next couple of days when we leave Los Angeles for Sydney.
I quickly move on, not dwelling on the unnecessary emotion that this goodbye promises to bring.
We were in Jacksonville last night. On our way to the airport this morning our driver spoke about, among other things (she was quite the talker) the local Florida bird-life. We got onto the subject of the American national emblem, the bald eagle. These days in that state, the magnificent and nationally acclaimed species is returning. Apparently they build their nests high up in the mobile phone towers and live, confident and strong, in a place where they weren’t supposed to be, but now occupy as their own. That place is where their perspective is all encompassing. Their view one that royalty in the animal kingdom are privy to alone. It’s a vantage point, brilliantly positioned for them to educate their babies in the art form for which they are famous. And for which those babies were created.
Their keen eye and purpose combine as they hunt from a great height and feed those babes until one day, they will drop them out of the nest. The little ones will learn how to fly. It’s called survival. Their hearts will be encouraged as they at first panic at the speed and precarious, random nature of their initial solo flight. That’s the one when Mama Eagle literally turfs them out of the nest. I imagine they struggle to overcome their surprise, but quickly gather all that they have been created to employ, as they flap those great but novice wings and experience God’s breeze and lifting currents in flight.
And before long, baby eagle is able to be seen high in the sky, doing what God has created it to do. Soaring. Being magnificent.
Mother eagle….. Do you feel like I do when you watch that?
The need to teach and then to let go? The fact that you have educated your babies to fly and then they actually take you at your word and do it? And before long there is no real need for you to be there. They have learned the path of life. They have become ‘grown up’. They turn their heads towards the future.
The ‘Empty Nest’….it’s an expression, a naming of the empty-hearted feeling that every other Mama knows. Every mother who has educated, trained, loved and encouraged her babies to fly… As she champions her offspring, remembering their birth and childhood ways, she watches on, ever protective and ready to swoop in and rescue.
We are on the approach to Dallas. Next top Los Angeles. Four days to see my baby angel. Then I must become Mother Eagle.
Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. 
 The New International Version. 2011 (Is 40:31). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.