Tuesday, October 27, 2009

One of the sights I love to feast on is the dance of seagulls in open spaces. Places that evoke the nostalgia of these unassuming birds are large squares in European city centers, where the romance of historic architecture marries the unlikely glamor of modern shops and restaurants. I used to sit on a bench on a sunny afternoon and listen to the flap of wings as they rise and circle the busy square. Undaunted by the procession of people without end, these birds would flutter their garments and glide effortlessly above centuries-old statues in perpetual tango.

Maybe I enjoy watching birds so much because of the freedom of their flight. Seagulls seem to own the squares, flapping their wings above everything in their physical domain. I can totally identify with David the psalmist in his yearning: "Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."

Life, for most of us, is a series of question marks that increase exponentially as we climb the steps of time. Threats bombard our souls from all directions: mysterious illnesses, terrorism, betrayal from loved ones, economic upheavals, wars of politics, world starvation... Just reading the list might cause one's heartbeat to escalate a notch. This is the parcel of universe we live and move and have our being
on. It almost seems as though a curse reverberates the late great planet Earth... and it does (for more on this, please visit God's account of how it all began in Genesis).

Fortunately, this need not be the end of the story nor the essence of our existence. "As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud; and He shall hear my voice." The same David that wanted to fly with wings of dove was free at last. The world was still the same cradle of anguish as it had always been, yet David was a man at liberty... There, in the sanctuary of his spirit, David wrestled his questions with God; that day, God grew really big until the heart could hold no more of Him.

I can still see the dance of seagulls and taste the music of their wings as they freely roam the ancient squares. There is a quality of joy in their tango that beats the frantic dance of my plastic existence. There is a freedom of upward flight that is independent of circumstance and matter. Maybe that's why my soul fills with joy beyond reason as I observe their harmonious motion. Maybe the seagulls are God's reminder that, in Him, I too am destined to fly, free at last.

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