I wrote this story a while back- when my oldest ones were really starting to hurt emotionally from the pain of trying to grow up with a disability; But in many ways, it applies to each of us. We have all spent our moments just beginning.
“The Lord, who watches over all the creations of his hands, went out in the world one fine morning, and saw an egg lying in a patch of wild grass by the side of a great tree. It had been rocking so hard in it’s effort to hatch, that it had fallen right out of it’s nest. Bending down, he picked it up in his strong and gentle hand.
“Come along my little one” He said, looking up at the tree. “Let’s get you back to the nest.”
The baby bird inside the egg called out “NO! I don’t want to go back to the nest! It’s tiny and plain and the twigs scratch and hurt. I want to stay here in the grass where it’s soft and smells good.”
The Lord hears all voices, great or small. So he heard the bird inside the egg, and answered; “Ah, but the wide world is a dangerous place for such a tiny thing as you. There are snakes and lizards, cats, and even bigger birds that want to find you and swallow you whole. You do not yet have your wings to fly away from such dangers. And there is no food here in the grass, you would not even be able to care for yourself.”
The baby bird answered, “Then break open this shell and set me free!”
The loving Father saw the cracks that were starting to zig-zag around the shell. “That is something you need to do yourself” He answered in his most encouraging voice. “Come on, your nearly there.”
But the baby bird got angry. That was not the answer he wanted to hear. “No!” he shouted up at God. “ The shell is too hard! You said you would listen to my prayers! You said you would help me! I hurt! All I prayed for was to open the shell- and now all you can say is No!”
The Lord’s eyes were sad, as he looked at the tiny thing in his hand; but his voice became stronger, like steel that knows the world, and will not bend. “You have not noticed, because of your youth, but I have been helping all along,” He said. “I gave you a hard shell as a wall of protection for your body as it developed and grew large enough to think and move on it’s own. I gave you food to last through the whole process that was just there with no effort on your part. I provided an air pocket for when you out-grew your food supply- so you could taste the real world and feel a desire to get out there, and I made it large enough to sustain you till you are finished. I even provided a special sharp tooth on the end of your bill that will break open the shell.”
“But I’m tired and sore and hungry! I can’t go on any more!” the bird in the shell kept on, not even listening. “You promised me I would be strong, and smart. All my friends have made it out of their shells already. Some are even starting to fly. And still here I am. You gave me a defective shell. If you don’t get this shell off me, I’m giving up. I don’t believe in you anymore.”
Heavenly Father sat down on the grass with the egg in his hand and thought about all the things he knew, and how to best answer the little bird he loved so much. What could he say that it would understand. “Little one,” he began “Your great heart needs to be strengthened. The effort of breaking the shell may seem a great thing to you right now- but your heart is vital to your survival. It must beat strong enough to match the power of your wings. If I short-cut this small but necessary piece of your development, you will die. The first time danger approaches, you will try to use your strength, but your heart will not be able to match it; and the unbalanced effort will give you a heart attack.
“In all of this earth’s thousands of years, and billions of baby birds, this has always been true– should I not allow the heart to strengthen, I get 100% death rate. If I make the baby do this great work of his, there is a few- perhaps one in 10,000- that give up and suffocate inside their shell. So when faced with a choice; 100% or a thousandth of a percent, I will chose the option that gives me the most hope.
“Your friends’ shells are not as strong as yours, because they are sparrows and chickens, you even have a few friends who are falcons, hawks, and owls. Their shells were strong enough for the size of their hearts. But you have a much greater heart. You are an Eagle, and need great effort to bring about the full power of your Eagle’s heart. If I took away your shell, I would rob the world of one of my mightiest creations. Your belief or not in me does not change the fact that I am here. And because I am here, I must choose the course that will bring my best to the world. Whether you keep on trying or not is your part of the choice.”
Then Heavenly Father put the egg back in it’s great nest where the mother Eagle was waiting. “Choose wisely my little friend, so we can fly together someday.” –copyright, Shareen Halliday, May 2010